People run the Boston Marathon for a lot of different reasons. For some it’s something on their bucket list. For others it’s the thrill of being part of one of the most historic road races in the world.
However, for East Boston 35 year-old native Paul Franzese the race is about helping a cause that is near and dear to him.
On Monday Franzese finished the 26.2 mile Marathon in five hours and 34 minutes and raised just over $8,000 for the Salesian Boys & Girls Club in Eastie.
“This was my second year running but my first year raising money for a cause,” said Franzese the morning after the Marathon.
Franzese, a 2002 graduate of Savio Prep, grew up around Salesian programs for most of his life.
“Just knowing the history of the club it was a no-brainer for me,” he said. “I graduated Savio in 2002 and the Boys & Girls Club was a place I went there after school almost every day growing up. Later I became a camp counselor and worked at the club for a few years. I wanted to be able to give back to a place that gave me so much.”
Franzese also has a connection to the club’s Executive Director Michael Triant.
“I’ve known Mike for years,” said Franzese. “From my days playing basketball in the Orient Heights Gym League he was one of my first coaches when I was younger. He does a great job at the Boys & Girls Club.”
As for raising over $8,000, more than $500 over his goal, Franzese said it was not as hard as he thought it would be.
“I think the cause speaks for itself,” he said. “Whenever I’d approach someone and start telling them I’m running the Marathon for the Salesian Boys & Girls Club they’d stop me in mid-sentence and say. ‘Whatever you need’. I think the generosity from everyone speaks volumes of the club itself.”
Franzese also gave a special shoutout to his wife, Roseanna, who helped with the fundraising effort.
“She put together this amazing fundraiser at the Winthrop Golf Course last month and we were able to raise almost half our total at that one event,” he said. “We had over 50 people there, local businesses and made roughly $3,500 for the club.”
Franzese’s wife and daughter, Ella, were at the finish line Monday to celebrate his run.
“It was tough this year,” he said. “I didn’t train like I did for last year’s Marathon because I had some shin splints that sidelined me for a few months. The weather was also tough because it went from being very warm to cold in a matter of hours. Hey, but I finished and was able to help a good cause so that’s all that matters.”
Franzese said people can still donate for the next six days to his fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club by visiting www.mightycause.com/story/Boysandgirlsclub.
“Paul is one of many successful young men and women who were members of Salesian Boys & Girls Club,” said Triant. “As soon as we realized the opportunity of having community members raise money for the club while running, Paul reached out to us. All funds will be used for facility improvements geared toward child safety, staff development and to support the addition of high quality programs for our members. We are incredibly grateful for Paul’s support of Salesian Boys & Girls Club.”