Leominster’s Proietti Running Falmouth for Friend, Others in Need
LEOMINSTER -- The most important thing to know about Marina Proietti is that she hates crowds. But she loves her friend more.
And that’s why, on Sunday, Proietti will be one of well over 10,000 runners at the starting line for the 46th annual New Balance Falmouth Road Race.
“I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous. I don’t do well in crowds,” said Proietti, a Leominster resident and a clerk in the City Building Department. “It will definitely be an experience. They say it’s a beautiful course.”
The event, which has become the second most popular road race in New England, attracts elite runners from all over the world. But competing for top prizes isn’t the reason Proietti headed down to Cape Cod on Thursday in preparation for Sunday’s race. The 30-year-old is running the 7.1-mile race as part of 60-person team raising money on behalf of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation.
Started by Andruzzi, a former New England Patriots lineman, the foundation provides financial support to cancer patients and their families that have fallen on difficult times due to their illness and treatment.
A close family friend of Proietti is battling cancer and has been active with the foundation. Proietti had intended to run Falmouth for the foundation last year, but had to cancel those plans due to nagging injuries.
But this year, almost 100 percent healthy, Proietti is excited to run for such a worthy cause and on behalf of her friend.
“I’ll be driving down Thursday with two other members of the (Andruzzi) team,” Proietti said earlier this week. “My family has a place in Mashpee where we will be staying.”
“We are very excited to have Marina Proietti as a Foundation ambassador this summer and are thankful for all she is doing to further our mission,” said Jen Andruzzi, executive director of JAF. “Marina’s efforts are directly benefiting cancer patients and families in need throughout New England. We are grateful for the efforts our runners are making to prepare for this race and we are excited to come together as a team.
Proietti was a high school athlete but didn’t begin running seriously until her freshman year of college. And even though she has competed in other road races, she admits most of her running is done indoors.
“Most of the running I do is on a treadmill. I do about 5 to 8 miles a day. I start around 3:30 in the morning,” she said.
It’s not that Proietti loves being an early riser, it’s that she needs to get her running in before her 3-and-a-half-year-old daughter wakes up.
“I used to get up at 4:30 to run and then she started getting up earlier, so I had to get up earlier too,” she said, with a laugh.
Proietti also works out regularly at Leominster’s Global Fitness Center and has participated in grueling Spartan races for the past three years with some of her fellow gym members.
While the Falmouth Road Race doesn’t require running through the mud, Proietti knows her first time on a new course, and trying to navigate the start with a huge crowd, will be a challenge.
“Right now my goal is to finish in under an hour,” she said.
As of Friday evening, Proietti had surpassed her fundraising goal of $1,250, with $1,290 raised to benefit the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, but more donations are welcome for the worthy cause.
If you would like to contribute to Proietti’s total and help the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, you can log onto her fundraising page at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/marina-proietti /Team-JAF-at-the-2018-Falmouth-Road-Race.