This year's Boston Marathon is in honor of Sean Staunton, an incredible friend who passed away in June of this year. I shared the following words back in June and wanted to reshare them here.
"Shortly after heading out the door and stepping off the porch for my run last night, I began to cry. The tears just started flowing, and it all felt like too much. Monday morning, my friend and fellow Bulldog, Sean Staunton, passed away. I’ve been trying to make sense of the news, searching for answers, for some sense of calm amidst the overwhelming sadness. Not Sean, the incredible teddy bear of a man who always had so much love and kindness to offer, who would greet people with his generous hugs, his booming laugh, and his constant enthusiasm. For those who didn’t get the chance to know Sean, he was a Bulldog through and through, truly embodying the “kind-hearted warrior” mentality that our club is built upon.
I’ll remember running up Heartbreak Hill with Sean, sometimes with a Bluetooth speaker in his hand, blaring music, huffing and puffing, giving it his everything. I’ll remember when he came to a run one day, proud and excited to show off the fresh, new Bulldogs tattoo he was sporting on his arm. He always spoke from the heart, and was transparent about his struggles, putting himself out there and leaning on the support of others to face his challenges head-on. He kept showing up, committed and dedicated to the club, to the mission, and to his own journey. He gave back so much, mentoring other members and visiting recovery centers to share his story and spread the word about the power of the club.
His family said the four best years of his life were with the Bulldogs. It saddens me he didn’t get to spend many more with us, but I feel incredibly grateful for the time we did get to spend together, the runs we shared, and the conversations we had. Sean, thank you for gifting all of us with your friendship. You’ll continue to be with us, on each lap of the reservoir, each trip up Heartbreak, and each step of our runs. Those hours spent thinking of you on my run last night were emotional, but as much as they were a form of grieving, they were also a celebration of your life, a life jam-packed with goodness. We’ll keep celebrating it for you, Sean, today, tomorrow, and all the days after that.
This September you'll be right there with us Sean.
Monday, April 20th, 2020 would have been my fifth consecutive running of the Boston Marathon, a race that has given so much to me over the years, and one where I hope I can give back as well. My first time racing Boston in 2016 was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and I have Jack Fultz, Mike Ferullo, and the Boston Bulldogs Running Club to thank for that. If you don’t know Jack, he is the winner of the 1976 Boston Marathon, but much more than that, he is an incredible human being who gives back so much to the running community. Both he, Mike, and the Bulldogs gave me, an 18 year old kid with a dream, the chance to run the most prestigious marathon in the world, and for that, I am forever grateful. After running those 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston, I immediately fell in love. I told myself that every third Monday in April would be reserved on my calendar so I could return to those streets. This year, the race will take place in September, an odd feeling for probably everyone, but as runners, we learn to adapt!
One of the most special parts of my relationship with the Boston Marathon is the connection it has for me to the Bulldogs. For those not familiar, we are a running club with a mission to provide an anonymous and safe community of support for all those adversely affected by addiction. This includes those in recovery, their families and friends, the clinical community, and the community at large. I’ve seen the suffering of far too many people who are close to me who have been impacted by addiction, but I’ve also seen the tremendous power of the Bulldogs in helping individuals receive the support they need to get back on their feet. Through compassion and community, the Bulldogs have changed countless lives for the better, and my main hope is that we as a club can continue to reach and support more people. As in years past, I will be raising money to support the programs the club offers, and if anyone feels inclined to donate, your contributions will be greatly appreciated. A little can go a long way. Also, if you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction, please don’t hesitate to reach out… most importantly, know you are never alone and that countless people care.