This week’s feature is on Carrie Neff. By day, Carrie is working on the admin-side of the Marathon as the St. Francis House Event Coordinator. By night (and weekends, and just about every other waking minute when she isn’t at her desk…) she’s training hard for the big day!
1. Start by introducing yourself – your name, where you work, where you’re from?
My name is Carrie Neff and I am originally from New Jersey but I have lived in Philadelphia, Chicago, and LA before making my home in Boston -and I actually started working at St. Francis House almost one year ago as their Event Coordinator (April 1st will be my one year anniversary!)
2. What is the most challenging part of your Marathon training so far?
I think the most challenging part of the training has been keeping up my long runs on the weekends. I am now at the point where every long run is the longest/farthest I have ever gone (previously the farthest I had run was two separate half marathons in 2014 and 2008). Going into each weekend knowing I will be attempting the hardest run I have ever attempted can feel daunting, but I always feel amazing after completing that distance!
3. Most people would never even consider taking on a challenge like this – how and why did you decide to run a marathon for an organization like St. Francis House?
I have entertained running a marathon for a number of years now after completing a few other races within the last 10 years, it has been a recurring question in the back of my mind: could I complete that distance one day?
When St Francis House had one open bib left I thought it was serendipity and it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out – all while raising money for one of the greatest, most effective organizations! Double bonus!
4. When did you first get into running? How did/does it make you feel?
I first started running as part of my high school’s track team but really started to enjoy it recreationally in college when I started participating in several 5K’s.In 2008, I trained for my first half marathon in Chicago as part of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago Team. The race that year was in literal pouring rain… We were running through puddles and it was hard to even see a few feet in front of us – but finishing that race made me feel like I could do anything including, hopefully, completing my first Marathon this year!
5. What part of St. Francis House’s work interests you the most?
I particularly appreciate the philosophy of having all the resources someone would need in one place. For people experiencing homelessness, it is challenging enough to have to identify all of the resources available to try to get your life in order – including access to medical care, recovery support services, and job training. Realizing the difficulty I myself have when figuring out where my own appointments are and how to get to them and when to get to them is extremely difficult and I can see how that would be a barrier to anyone.
At St. Francis House, our guests have access to everything from food to hot showers to housing assistance to job training right at 39 Boylston Street and that is such an effective approach.
6. Is there something about SFH you wish everyone knew?
I wish everyone could witness firsthand the amount of enthusiasm that former guests have for St. Francis House. I have had the opportunity of working with several of the Sullivan Family Moving Ahead Program graduates and they have all been so happy to come back and speak for us or advocate for us. The amount of gratitude people have for being given a proper chance to succeed, it’s really a testament to the positive difference St. Francis House has made in their lives.
7. What would you say to someone who is considering running their first marathon?
I think you’ll never know what your body and mind is capable of until you try! Also, I am learning that although there is a good amount of physical strength necessary to complete this goal it is even more so a matter of building mental strength. I would say it’s 20% physical and 80% mental.
Go Carrie! We’re rooting for you!
Click here to support Carrie’s race to the finish line and help her reach her goal in support of St. Francis House!
Did you know you can meet Carrie, along with other Team St. Francis House runners, at Joe’s American Bar and Grill next month on April 8th at our Race to the Finish Line event? Check out tickets here!