There were 10 Nantucket residents who ran the Boston Marathon last year and when the 127th Boston Marathon begins this morning, there will be another large crop of runners with Nantucket ties who will be representing the island.
Scott Capizzo, Rob Cocuzzo, Kaitlyn Erisman, Kayla Gretzky, Bridgette Hynes, Kelsey Perkins, Kara Parhiala, and Cassie Thompson are the Nantucket residents known to the Current who will be running the marathon this year. Another participant will be Brian Bushard, a former island reporter who is now a staff reporter for Forbes and a contributing writer for the Current.
A special shoutout to Hynes and Parhiala for earning qualifying times for the marathon. It is quite the accomplishment and because they qualified, they will not be running for a charity. Best of luck to both of them.
Below are the other runners, the causes they are running for, and the links to each of their fundraising pages.
Scott Capizzo - Capizzo will be running to support and raise funds for the Alzheimer's Association's MA/NH chapter. Capizzo says this organization is near and dear to his heart, as his father and legendary Nantucket football coach Vito Capizzo dealt with dementia towards the end of his life.
"This will be my second time running the event and I am very excited to be involved," Scott said. "Alzheimer’s affects many people and most of us know someone that has been affected. I first ran the marathon in 2018 on behalf of my dad, legendary Nantucket whalers football coach Vito Capizzo. He had dementia. It was devastating for him and very challenging for everyone, especially my mom. She was his primary caregiver. This experience made me realize that I need to be in shape and be there for my family in the future. That is why I started running. I needed to accomplish a life long dream of running a marathon. It became an amazing transformation."
"I lost 50 pounds and have run over 5000 miles in the last 5 years. I’ve been running on Team End Alz and raising money (over $13,000). There really are two marathons, the one that you have to run, and the one of fundraising. This experience has helped me become more compassionate towards others. It hasn’t always been easy. I do love training and being on a team. I love the camaraderie and meeting other people who also have loved ones that are experiencing Alzheimer’s. I enjoy giving back to the community that raised me and spreading positivity to our elderly. I plan on continuing on with my journey and working with End Alzheimer’s and running marathons as long as my body can handle. Thank you for your generosity."
You can donate to Scott's cause and support him on this journey by clicking here.
Rob Cocuzzo - Nantucket Magazine's very own Rob Cocuzzo is running the Boston Marathon for the first time! Rob is raising money for the Boston Public Library, where he and his wife Jenny were married.
"The BPL is near and dear to my heart," Cocuzzo said. "Jenny and I were married at the BPL. I wrote my first book at the BPL. I currently serve on the BPL's Emerging Leaders board. And, above all, as a writer and dad to two little book-lovers, I believe deeply in the BPL's mission.
"The BPL isn't just about library cards and books. The central branch along with its many satellite branches serve the community in many ways, helping folks in search of housing, jobs, immigration assistance, and cultural enrichment. The BPL is an essential park of what makes Boston one of the best cities in the country."
The marathon falls on Cocuzzo's 37th birthday this year, so you can support his cause and make his birthday a special one by donating to his fundraiser here.
Kaitlyn Erisman – Erisman is running the Boston Marathon to raise funds for the 26.2 Foundation, which supports and promotes the sport of marathoning, as well as health, wellness and economic development. Her motivation to support this cause is from her oldest daughter Willa.
Erisman explains in the story that accompanies the fundraiser that Ella had a stroke at birth and has continued to flourish regardless of her physical limitations. Erisman said that Willa inspires her every day to work hard and hopes to show her what a fantastic teacher she has been to her Mom.
"In the past 8 years since I have become a Mom I have been humbled by my kids' ability to try new things and to lean into things that might scare them," Erisman said. "I am constantly being reminded of their bravery as they put themselves outside their comfort zone, which is something that as adults we don't do very often. So, here I am leaning into something that scares me to show them how important they are to me."
You can donate to Erisman’s cause by clicking here.
Kayla Gretzky – Gretzky is running the Boston Marathon to raise funds for the Webb Norden Foundation. Gretzky said that she is doing so to support one of her best friends Jacqui Webb, who is one of the founders of the foundation 10 years ago with her fiancé Paul Norden.
Webb and Norden are survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings who have made it their mission to give back through various charities and philanthropic endeavors ever since. The Webb Norden Foundation supports children and young adults who have been involved in a traumatic event through funding and resources.
"(Jacqui and Paul) are both extremely philanthropic people in the community and wanted to start their own foundation. It's an honor for them to have asked me to be a part of the marathon team for them," Gretzky said. "It's amazing that even after this horrific event these two find the good in everything and do what they can to give back to others in need."
You can click here to donate and support Kayla's cause.
Kelsey Perkins – Perkins is also the running the Boston Marathon for the 26.2 Foundation. She said the cause also has a special place in her heart.
"I ran my first Boston Marathon in 2017 shortly after giving birth to my daughter who was 8 months old at the time," Perkins said. "I struggled postpartum with profound, and at times crippling, anxiety and found that running gave me an outlet to work through my fears, and provided me with a community of friends and fellow athletes that propelled me through a difficult time. I’m returning to the start line in Hopkinton in 2023 in a very different place, with a now six year old to cheer me on as I hope to complete my second Boston Marathon!"
You can support Perkins' cause by clicking here.
Kara Parhiala – Kara is running the Boston Marathon in honor of her father, who passed away 20 years ago this October from a rare Peritoneal Cancer. She asks for anyone who wants to make a donation to donate directly to Brigham and Women's Hospital. You can do so by following this link.
Cassie Thompson – Thompson is running the Boston Marathon and raising money for the Mass Eye & Ear. Thompson is currently an oncology patient there and wants to raise money for a hospital that has been with her every step of the way as she battled cancer.
"In 2019 at the age of 33 I was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma and thanks to the great work done by Dr. Kim and her team I am living a full life," Thompson said. "I have been lucky that the treatment I have received stabilized my tumor and saved my eyesight. After my diagnosis I started running as a way to reduce stress and clear my mind. Running the Boston Marathon for Team Mass Eye and Ear is a way for me to give back to the doctors and staff that not only helped me through a difficult time in my life but continue to provide me with excellent care."
You can support Cassie and her cause by clicking here.
Brian Bushard - Bushard is running the Boston Marathon and raising funds for Natick Community Organic Farm, a local nonprofit certified-organic farm and education center that's been teaching several generations of Natick kids, including Brian himself, about the importance of local, sustainable agriculture. Last March, the farm was struck with a fundraising dilemma when their barn burned to the ground, prompting a community effort to rebuild it.
"Fortunately, they saw an amazing outpouring of support and were able to fundraise for a new barn, which they expect to be constructed next year," Bushard said. "With fundraising focused on the new barn, however, the farm has been strapped for cash for its day-to-day operations. A donation today will help them reach that goal and continue to provide productive open space, organic farm products and hands-on education for all ages, year-round."
You can donate to Brian's cause by clicking here.
If anyone has information on any additional runners who live on the island or have Nantucket-ties, please email email@example.com so they can be added to this list.