On October 11th, the 125th annual Boston Marathon took place. This was the first Boston Marathon since April of 2019 due to COVID-19 related postponements. With the return of one of the world marathons, many people traveled to Boston to race.
Massachusetts native Eric Mondo traveled from New York to race this year. Mondo grew up in the suburbs of Boston and ended up moving to NYC with his brother, Brad Mondo, to help Brad grow his YouTube Channel.
Eric Mondo ran the New York City marathon in 2018, but this was the first Boston Marathon he has participated in. Mondo grew up watching the marathon from his father’s hair salon, resulting in many fond memories of this race.
“I’ve been watching the marathon since I was a kid,” said Mondo. “We would always go into my dad’s salon or near the salon area to watch the marathon.”
While the past two years have been hectic with the unknown state of COVID-19, Mondo knew this was the best time to run his first Boston Marathon. In April 2021, Mondo’s father died after battling Parkinson’s disease for almost 20 years. Mondo was already considering running the marathon, but after his father’s passing, Mondo was set on running it in honor of him.
“With the race being after COVID-19 and with him [Mondo’s dad] passing in April it just made sense to run it,” Mondo stated. “I wanted to run it for the cause but also to prove to myself that I could do it.”
In order to run the Boston Marathon, runners must qualify with a certain race time or raise a minimum of $5,000 for a charity. In honor of his late father, Mondo decided to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is working to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
“It’s not about the dollar amount that’s donated, it’s more about getting people involved and that people are supporting your cause,” said Mondo. “I am also so excited to announce that I have raised over $35,000 for the MJF Foundation.”
Mondo started his running career in high school when he joined his school’s cross country and track team. One of Mondo’s training teams in high school would even run on the marathon course during the summer. While cross country and track did help his love of running, he didn’t realize how much you could train your body to do.
“When I started this training session my long runs were six miles and I was really worn out, but now I did eight miles last night as my last training run and I felt like I could do it with my eyes closed.”
Forgotten memories flooded back to Mondo as he raced through the Boston suburbs. Mondo hasn’t lived in Massachusetts since 2015, so being able to race so close to where he grew up was something special.
“When you’re in the physical space where you have a lot of memories and spend a lot of time with someone, you kinda get reminded of them and remember memories that maybe you forgot about so that was super cool,” Mondo stated.
Mondo’s training and efforts were all worth it in the end, as he proudly finished the 26.2 miles. To some runners, it is all about setting personal bests. But to Mondo, the journey was more important.
“The whole journey of training and putting all the effort in and getting in that running shape is such a feeling of accomplishment at all different points along that journey,” said Mondo.