WORCESTER – When you ask Worcester Fitness Running Team coach Andy Sharry what he enjoys most about his team he says “I love creating an environment where people can form lifelong bonds of friendship”
Two years ago Sharry started the Worcester Fitness Running Team [WFRT], which is a group of runners of all levels and abilities. They meet twice a week to run various courses throughout the city.
“Yes, running is the main activity we do together, but it’s the people and the connections we make together that is the real value of being part of our team. It’s all about the journey, not just the destination.”
Each member sets goals each year and Sharry works with them to achieve their personal goal as well as build team camaraderie “The miles logged in training, the weight lost, the medals earned from finishing races are truly awesome….but the connections we make are far, far more important in the whole grand scheme of things.” says Sharry
On Sunday, Oct. 22, Sharry and 26 members of the WFRT will be in Washington, D.C. to take part in the 42nd Marine Corp Marathon/10K [MCM]. More than half the team will be running the marathon, while the others will take part in the 10K, which goes through the nation’s capitol.
“I was looking for a destination running event, and Marine Corps Marathon is known as the people’s marathon, very friendly to all types of runners”
Along, with the training for this event, WFRT will be raising money for Homes For Our Troops [HFOT], an organization that builds and donates specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post – 9/11 Veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives.
“I watched a powerful series of episodes of This Old House in which the program built a home for a severely wounded veteran. The show highlighted the veteran himself, and all of the incredible ways HFOT helps those who really need our help, the heroes who served and made devastatingly damaging sacrifices with their own bodies. ” Sharry said in a September 8th e-mail
The MCM is a lottery race, meaning that not all who enter the lottery will receive a bib for the race. Committing to HFOT ensures that all who wanted to participate in this journey would receive a guaranteed bib for the race
“[MCM] will be my fourth [marathon] and my second with the team. Training with the team is a great experience” says WFRT team member Kate Pietrovito
WFRT has committed to raising $20,000 for HFOT through personal commitments of $600 per runner and team fundraisers.
“To partner with [HFOT], it seemed like a perfect match. It’s a local, well run charity, a tremendously honorable cause, and it tied in nicely to the race overall.” Pietrovito added
“When I’m out on a run, thinking how hard the long miles are or how awesome we are for running these long distances, I am reminded of our HFOT veterans – and I realize that what is really hard is what these veterans face every single day.” says team member Jen Caron
The team will be holding a Homes for Our Troops Auction Bash on Friday, Sept. 15 at 6:30 pm at MacDonald’s Tavern inside Worcester Fitness. Tickets are $10 and can be purchase online or at the door. Prizes include a One week Florida timeshare, Red Sox and Patriots tickets, an Autographed Bob Cousy basketball and many other items
To date the team has raised $14,651.60, with approximately 40 days to go.
“Seeing people who’ve accomplished something special by completing a 10 (10k) or Marathon and knowing that we raised over $20,000 will be powerful.” Sharry added