BWH Stepping Strong
Marathon Team

BWH Stepping Strong<br />Marathon Team

The annual BWH Stepping Strong marathon team pasta party included a surprise appearance by Meb Keflezighi (center), winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon men’s race.

BWH Stepping Strong
Marathon Team

Congratulations, 2018 Stepping Strong Marathon Team

In an epic chapter of Boston Marathon history—including near-freezing conditions, pelting rain, wind gusts over 45 MPH, and puddles three inches deep—140 gritty, determined Stepping Strong team runners braved a nor’easter on April 16 to fuel research and care for trauma survivors. Before even lining up at the starting line, this team exceeded its fundraising goal of $1.15 million, raising more than $1.3 million to support the work of The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Trauma Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). As a testament to team’s strength, resilience, and tremendous Stepping Strong spirit, each and every runner successfully completed the race.

After the race, team captain Audrey Epstein Reny expressed her gratitude, stating, “There are not enough words to thank you for being a part of this remarkable 2018 Stepping Strong marathon team. I know that ‘Step Strong’, ‘5 Years Strong’ and our team’s collective power pulled Steve and me in to Boston when our running shoes were soaked and the deluge kept on coming. With this 26.2 done, you can do anything!”

Throughout the race, runners including Boston resident Andrew Ouellette were sustained by the inspiring stories shared by guest speakers during the annual pasta party held on Sunday night. Among those who spoke were Gillian Reny, who was injured during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and for whom the center is named; Tammy Jerome, a BWH patient who recently underwent the revolutionary Stepping Strong-funded Ewing Amputation procedure; and Meb Keflezighi, winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon men’s race.

“I could not have been more proud to cross that finish line on Monday,” said team member Meghan Schelzi. “It’s hard to put into words exactly what the experience was like, but I truly learned the value of a group of individuals coming together for a common goal. I am especially grateful to Ali Luthman and Caroline Duncan for planning every single detail of this entire journey, to Audrey Epstein Reny, whose strength and leadership taught us all how to turn tragedy into hope in the face of great challenge, and to the man at mile 24 that yelled, ‘I’m so proud of you,’ just as I was beginning to wonder how I could possible go another few miles.”

Joann O’Brien, of Plymouth, ran her first marathon on Monday. The mission of Stepping Strong resonated deeply with her, especially after a friend lost a leg below the knee in a boating accident. On Monday, her friend jumped a fence to hug O’Brien in Boston at the infamous right on Hereford and left on Boylston intersection. “Seeing her there was an unforgettable moment. While the race was very challenging given the difficult weather conditions, I wouldn’t have wanted to change a thing.”

“They always say that training gets you so far, but spectators carry you through the rest of the race,” said runner and Stepping Strong science writer Liz Burke. “At the starting line, we were terrified that there would be no spectators to carry us through. However, there they were—in every town—with horns and signs, screaming the names of people they didn’t even know, and showing that the Boston Strong spirit was alive and well. That and the Stepping Strong spirit helped me through the day!”

To learn more about running with the BWH Stepping Strong Marathon Team, contact Caroline Duncan at or 617-424-4263. To learn more about Stepping Strong research, news, events, and program areas, see