My name is Bethany Cognata, and I am 32 years old from Billerica Ma. My running journey began in the spring of 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic closures. Just prior to the shut down, I had emergency gallbladder surgery which limited my ability to do most forms of exercising. As someone who had just lost over 80 pounds over the 2 years leading up to this timeframe, I refused to let the pandemic cause me any setbacks. With clearance from my surgeon, I started running as my one and only form of exercising during my recovery period. Although I was very active as a child and participated in sports such as basketball, softball, and track and field, I had never considered myself a runner and never ran routinely. It was something I always aspired to do, but never really had the desire or motivation to put in the work. Running the Boston Marathon has been something that has been on my bucket list for most of my life. Every Patriot’s Day I would sit at home watching the thousands of runners on the iconic marathon route and wonder if that was ever realistically something that I would have the opportunity to do. Being given this opportunity is completely surreal and is hard to put into words.
Over the past 2 years I have run in numerous virtual races including 5K’s, 10K’s, and Half Marathons. Whenever I run, I have this habit of always take a selfie at the end of it to remind myself of how happy I am. This helps give me motivation to keep running and pushing for those longer distances. In August of 2021 I ran in my first in-person event the Falmouth Road Race, a 7-mile route, with a finish time of 1:08:28, and ran the route again in November for their Falmouth in the Fall race with a finishing time of 1:02:47. In October 2021 I ran the half marathon distance in 2:06:51, and in November 2021 I participated in the virtual half marathon for Disney’s Wine and Dine weekend with a time of 2:09:32. Throughout these races and experiences I have found a true love for running and realized that I can push myself farther that I ever thought I could go. If you told me 4 years ago when I started my weight loss journey, or even 2 years ago when I started running for the first time, that I would be running in a Marathon in 2022 I wouldn’t have believed you. My husband Sal, along with my family and friends are so encouraging with all my running events and milestones which I am beyond grateful for. So many of them have already told me that they are planning to come and see me along the route in April which mean so much to me.