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MVS Runners in the Boston Marathon

Stephanie Guyotte | Published on 3/20/2024

The 2024 Boston Marathon is around the corner.

Best of luck to all of the MVS members running this year’s Boston.  We have many runners who qualified and many running for local charities.  MVS is also fortunate to be offered time-waived bibs from the BAA.  Here’s a snapshot of MVS’ bib recipients. For six of them, it is their first Boston Marathon!

Read on to learn why they are running, their favorite running song, and their goals for Boston!


Jason Barbieri

When Did you Join MVS; What ways are you involved in the club:  I joined MVS in Nov 2021.  Over the last few years of being a member, I’ve tried to be as active as possible by participating in Track Workouts, Strength & Mobility, Monthly Meetings, hosting/attending Hosted Runs, Pub Runs, Mount Washington Road Race, Mill Cities, as well as many other Iron Running Series Races with my son.

Why Boston? And Goal for 2024 Boston Marathon:  Running Boston has always been a bucket list race for me.  I got into running when I was 8 years old and my Mom would take me to the track to run.  My Uncle would pace me at races and i would watch him and his friend run the Boston Marathon.  I knew that some day I would want to be able to run Boston as well.  My goal for the 2024 Boston Marathon is to take it all in, be in the moment, and run healthy. 

Favorite song to run to: John Farnham - Thunder in Your Heart (RAD Soundtrack)

Favorite place to train or running route:  Mammoth Lakes, CA

Training buddies:  Chris Barbieri,  Dom Barbieri, Tony Straceski, Peter Rushton, Paul Dick, Mark Zytkovicz and Sam Butler

Anticipated marathon sneaker:  361 Nemesis

Run you’re most proud of:  1987 Dubliner Road Race in Lowell, MA (Age 9)

Is this your first Boston?  Yes.

Best marathon advice you’ve received:  Run your own race.

Best marathon training tip:   Do your best to not increase mileage by more than 10-20% each week, as well as to not let you long run make up more than a 1/3 of your overall mileage for the week.

Part of the race you’re most looking forward to:  Heartbreak Hill, as well as Mile 26

Favorite MVS memory/moment:  Running the last 100m of the 2023 Mount Washington Road Race at a 22 degree incline, limited visibility and 40mph winds. Ironically, the first 100m driving down Mount Washington with Stephanie G’s husband rivaled that moment.

Last word / Anything to add:  I’m extremely excited to run Boston this year and looking forward to a great day, as well as making lots of memories.


Catie Castagna

When Did you Join MVS; What ways are you involved in the club: 2022 recently, but originally in 2012.  Involved in track, feaster five volunteering and Mill Cities relay

Why Boston? And Goal for 2024 Boston Marathon: I have run Boston the past 2 years and missed the cut off by 25 seconds for 2024, I am so grateful MVS provided me a bib this year to keep my streak alive. My stretch time goal is 3:30.

Favorite song to run to: Unstoppable by Sia

Favorite place to train or running route: Harold Parker - Middleton Rd

Training buddies: Mel Robbins :)

Anticipated marathon sneaker: Saucony Kinvara 14

Run you’re most proud of: Boston 2023, I had some health concerns going on at the time, and I had to dig deep to accomplish my time goal.

How many times have your Run Boston and what’s your advice to Boston first timers? I have run Boston 2 times so far.  My advice is to start out conservatively and leave some fuel in your tank for the hills and the last 6 miles, also to look around and enjoy the race and the spectators.

Best marathon advice you’ve received: Strength training is important and the race doesn't really begin until mile 18-20

Best marathon training tip: Train your gut for the fuel you will consume on race day, don't do anything new on race day regarding fuel or clothing

Part of the race you’re most looking forward to: Seeing my family around mile 13

Favorite MVS memory/moment: Volunteering at the start line back in 2012, hoping someday I would get the chance to run the Boston Marathon

Last word / Anything to add: I am excited to ride the MVS bus to Boston and see Striders along the course.  I am so grateful for the friendships I have developed through MVS.


Julia Gaynor

When Did you Join MVS; What ways are you involved in the club: I joined MVS in 2021. I’ve volunteered with the Feaster Five and held a Hosted Run. I participated on a Mill Cities Relay team, have been a member of several seasons of Track, and have attended numerous hosted runs.

Why Boston? And Goal for 2024 Boston Marathon: I’ve run 17 (maybe 18?) marathons but have had some major life changes in the last 5 years so I’m running Boston as a comeback race and commitment to myself to reconnect with “runner Julia” and as a way to connect with more MVS teammates as I seek out running buddies, long runs and other ways to stay focused on the way to April 15th! AND, I turn 50 this year, so it’s a big milestone year to do the world’s most renowned marathon!

Favorite song to run to: Geronimo by Sheperd

Favorite place to train or running route: My favorite running route is a Charlestown-Boston 6-miler around the Charles. My old Boston favorite when I lived there!

Training buddies: Lanshan Cao, Maura Szendey, Louise Cummings, Shilpa Joshi, Brigid Rodin, Susana Cenanovic

Anticipated marathon sneaker: Brooks Adrenaline

Run you’re most proud of: Baystate 2018, when I qualified for Boston!

How many times have you Run Boston and what’s your advice to Boston first timers: This is my 4th Boston. Advice to first-timers is to stick to your plan, don’t listen when your brain tells you that you’re feeling so good at mile 3, today’s the day to run 30 seconds faster than planned, and slow yourself down on those downhills until mile 16 because you’re going to need it for the last 10 miles!

Best marathon advice you’ve received: Break it into three sections: First 10 miles is sightseeing. Take it in, enjoy the sights, relax. Next 10 miles is where you stay focused, hit your splits, this is the real race. Last 6 you did deep and give everything you’ve got left!

Best marathon training tip: Listen to your body and don’t run when you’re sick, injured or over-tired. There’s plenty of time.

Part of the race you’re most looking forward to: Seeing my partner and kids at the finish!

Favorite MVS memory/moment: All of the miles, laughs and stories shared with my dear friend Lanshan over the past 6 months of training.

Last word / Anything to add: I’m so very grateful to MVS for being such a welcoming team when I moved from Boston, and for honoring me with this bib. This might not be my first Boston, but as a long-time marathoner, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate 50 than with my new family, and my new running family!



Shilpa Joshi

When Did you Join MVS; What ways are you involved in the club:

My husband Makarand Joshi, and I joined MVS in 2021. Over the course of the past 2+ years, we attended the track, and strength workouts, hosted runs, monthly meetings. For the past two years, Makarand and I enjoyed participating in Boston Marathon Packet Stuffing, and I am doing it this year as well. During our time at MVS we were able to draw a couple of our friends and one of Makarand's colleagues to the club as well. In Fall 2023, Coach Sharon gave me the opportunity to join her in coaching Schneider Electric’s Makarand Joshi Feaster Five Memorial coaching program, which was a unique experience for me, and one near and dear to my heart. I took this coaching program as an opportunity to help people trying to get into/better at the sport of running, motivating and coaching them, and answering any questions they had. Last year, I volunteered for a couple of shifts for Feaster Five 2023 for setup, VIP bag filling, registration, and bib pickup. I had signed up for volunteering at the MVS booth for Andover day last year, but the event got rescheduled due to bad weather forecast and I couldn’t make the alternative date due to a business travel trip. Hopefully, will be there next year!

Why Boston? And Goal for 2024 Boston Marathon:

In a cruel instant of time on July 6th, 2023, while we were on a hike in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Makarand, a marathoner and a strong athlete, with no underlying medical conditions, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, at a young age of 52 years.

The light, happiness, and hope vanished out of our lives with this tragic, sudden, and unexpected event. My kids and I were numb with shock and grief. I was experiencing pain and grief at a level I never had before. Although all the love and support showered by friends and family meant a lot, I also knew I had to find a way to get up and move on. I tried to build some strength, and "normalcy" in my life by turning to two things that have come to my rescue during prior hardships: My work - my professional passion - the desire to build strong and robust software for our customers as a software engineer, and my running/workout regimen –my sanity and physical strength.

His passing away leaves a void in my life that can never be filled. However, the more I continued my running after his death, the more I connected with his soul and spirit, and "felt" him running by my side. The dark, cold, long, and lonely winter was looming ahead of me last Fall. Having a new goal this winter (albeit a nerve-wrecking one), would hopefully keep my mind and body busy and help me get through these tough times. Also, why Boston? Because Boston is where the home and heart is. I chose to scatter Makarand’s ashes in the Charles River, in Boston, a city he loved. Running on the same paths with his love in my heart and his spirit by my side makes me feel like he is with me in some form, and he and I are continuing our tradition of running together. The Boston marathon, which he ran in April 2023, was his dream come true. And my dream is now to be a part of his dream. I want to run Boston because running has always been my passion, I absolutely enjoy it, it makes me feel “strong”, and I enjoy doing it with my ever inspiring, and supportive MVS friends. I know he would be happy if I trained well and ran a marathon, and none other than the Boston marathon, his last marathon, seems like an apt tribute of love to my dearest husband.

My goal for Boston: Number #1 goal: Be at the start line uninjured, and #2 finish strong (even though I know by then I will be hurting in a few places, and it will be one of the hardest things I would have ever done!). And most importantly like Makarand always said, “It’s the training and the journey to a marathon that make it so special”, so I plan to make the most of the privilege of running Boston that has been granted to me by the club!

Favorite song to run to: Too many Bollywood favorites to list here!

Favorite place to train or running route: Any run is a fun run when you have a running buddy!

Training buddies:  My all-time favorite training buddy my beloved husband, my dear MVS friends, the motivating, fearless women in the 261 group and many other non-MVS running/walking/supportive friends have all collectively played a huge role in my training!

Anticipated marathon sneaker: 1080 New Balance Fresh Foam!

Run you’re most proud of:  Every run teaches me something new and feels like an achievement!

Is this your first Boston? Yes.

Best marathon advice you’ve received: Be at the start line uninjured!

Best marathon training tip:  Use your body and heart and mind and common sense in training, train with a buddy or two – everyone teaches you something, and most important enjoy the journey!

Part of the race you’re most looking forward to:  Enjoying the run, and finishing my 26.2 before the crowd goes home!!

Favorite MVS memory/moment:  Makarand being so ecstatic and thrilled at the 35th feaster five when his dream for reinstating the Schneider Electric Feaster Five sponsorship came true in Nov 2022! And, the post Boston marathon MVS party after Makarand finished Boston, he was so happy!

Last word / Anything to add:  My MVS family holds a special place in my heart. I will be forever indebted to the love and support I have received from everyone at the club in many ways in the last few months. Our dear MVS coaches Sharon, MaryBeth and Amie keep pushing me to do my best, and believing in me, which has helped me move forward. I am incredibly grateful to be considered worthy of the Boston marathon 2024 bib and I am training hard and will use every ounce of energy in me to do justice to this privilege and opportunity given to me by the club!


David Lefcourt

When Did you Join MVS; What ways are you involved in the club: I joined MVS in March 2020 (a week before the world shutdown). I have been participating with the track workouts, volunteering at the Feaster Five Expo, try to attend as many Thursday night pub runs as I can, and some hosted runs when I can get myself out the door for a morning run (I am not usually a willing morning run).

Why Boston? And Goal for 2024 Boston Marathon: It became a dream of mine to run Boston after completing my first marathon in 2014. Now that I have dove deeper into the world of running, I am hoping to be a 6-star finisher someday. I have 2 game plans in mind for Boston. I'll make the call on race day for which one I want to pursue.

Favorite song to run to: I stopped listening to music on runs years ago. i tend to run at night. One time I forgot my music and realized I enjoy listening to my surroundings.

Favorite place to train or running route: I have a nice easy out and back run I do along the Merrimack in Haverhill. I have also found a fun 16+ mile route out to Merrimac town center and back during my current marathon training.

Training buddies: I'm the unique one who likes to run in the afternoons and evenings. But I have enjoyed some training runs with Ben Raphel and Jason Barbieri.

Anticipated marathon sneaker: Hoka Mach X

Run you’re most proud of: 2023 Baystate Marathon. I tanked the Charles River Marathon a month earlier so I was doing Baystate for a mental reset. I was feeling good after 13.1 so I decided to go for a BQ. I was able BQ for 2025 but with only 35 seconds in the bank. Not sure if it will be enough to get in, but at least I have the personal accomplishment of BQing.

Is this your first Boston? Yes

Best marathon advice you’ve received: Stick with your routine and run your race.

Best marathon training tip: Commit to the training plan and you will see the gains. Also, listen to your body. Sometimes that unplanned day off could be really good for you physically and mentally.

Part of the race you’re most looking forward to: All of it! I have heard so many great stories about Boston. I'm ready to take it all in.

Favorite MVS memory/moment: I enjoy the Thursday night pub runs but Mill Cities is a blast!

Last word / Anything to add: I would like to thank MVS once again for the opportunity to run Boston this year. I really do appreciate the honor to run Boston and represent MVS.


Brigid Rodin

When Did you Join MVS; What ways are you involved in the club:  I joined in 2016.  I have enjoyed meetings, coached running, a couple of volunteer activities most years, and especially the Iron Runner Series.  I’ve made it to a couple of hosted runs too, always fun.

Why Boston? And Goal for 2024 Boston Marathon:  Because everyone asks, “Have you ever run the Boston Marathon?”  Also, I retired this year so have time and flexibility to train.  My goal is, of course, to finish, and after that, to maybe BQ for next year.

Favorite song to run to:  I don’t listen to music much when I run, but my go to running song is “The Dog Days Are Over,” by Florence and the Machine.

Favorite place to train or running route: I live near Harold Parker State Park, so I have the luxury of quiet roads, shaded by trees, with rolling hills. 

Training buddies: My dog Jorma typically does 3 miles with me.  I then bring him back to the house and go back out for more.  I love running the coached runs, and the folks are always supportive and make you want to do your best.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the coached run workouts mesh with my training schedule.

Anticipated marathon sneaker: Dunno.  This pair is going to be flat in another couple of weeks, and I will get a new pair.  I only have one pair of running shoes, not trainers and racers.

Run your most proud of:  All of them?  Each one is unique, and an accomplishment.

Is this your first Boston? Yep.

Best marathon advice you’ve received: Each time I have run a marathon, I learned something new.  For my first marathon, the best advice I got was to walk the water stops and give myself that mini-break.

Best marathon training tip: It’s a long training calendar.  Don’t sweat missing a workout here or there, needing to reschedule something, all the little things that come up.  One gets in plenty of miles!

Part of the race you’re most looking forward to: Is this a test?  The finish line!

Favorite MVS memory/moment: That first time I heard someone say “Go Strider!” And realized they were cheering for me!

Last word / Anything to add: Getting this bib has been a great gift and I can’t wait to represent MVS on April 15th!


John Shaheen

When Did you Join MVS; What ways are you involved in the club:  Joined in 2016.  Participate in Track Workouts during all 4 seasons with the MVS coached by Sharon Johnson, Mary Beth Ellis, Amy Quinlan & Paul McGovern - Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall Track.  Hosted a run in 2022, participate in hosted runs, attend monthly meetings and purchase MVS gear.

Why Boston? And Goal for 2024 Boston Marathon:  Running Boston would provide me with a solid training schedule over the course of 12 weeks to prepare me for the 26.2 miles and get me in great shape and build on my running skills.  My first marathon was through the Striders in 2019.  I was honored to be awarded another number through the MVS in 2024.  In 2019 I finished at 5:02 and my primary goal is to complete and finish the marathon while my ultimate goal is to finish at 4:40 or faster.

Favorite song to run to: While running I normally do not listen to music.

Favorite place to train or running route:  Shorter runs on treadmills at Choice Fitness or Planet Fitness.  Long runs from Methuen through the streets of Lawrence.

Training buddies:  Kali Otis

Anticipated marathon sneaker: Brooks Glycerin 21 or the Brooks Ghost 15.

Run you’re most proud of: Finishing in under 2 hours the following half marathons - Cambridge, Newburyport and Smuttynose.

How many times have you Run Boston and what’s your advice to Boston first timers:  I have run Boston once in 2019.  Advice to a first timer is to start off slow and conserve energy for later in the race.

Best marathon advice you’ve received:  Loading up on carbs during the final days leading up to race day.

Best marathon training tip:  Taking gels every 30 to 45 minutes during long runs.

Part of the race you’re most looking forward to:  The starting line in Hopkinton, MA.

Favorite MVS memory/moment:  The phone call from Tom Licciardello telling me that I had been chosen to run the 2024 Boston Marathon as well as the lifelong friendships that I have made through the Striders running club!

Last word / Anything to add:  Mentioning some of my closest friends through the Striders as well as workout and running partners - Sharon Johnson, Kali Otis, Jill Baillargeon, Caitlin Letourneau, Dave Tringali as well as Mike & Wendy Madden.

Molly Zytkovicz

When Did you Join MVS; What ways are you involved in the club: I rejoined in July of 2021, I help with the weekly pub runs and other volunteer opportunities throughout the year.

Why Boston? And Goal for 2024 Boston Marathon: Boston Marathon is the most iconic marathon, this is a dream come true (well it will be) My goal is to remember every moment of race day and to finish strong.

Favorite song to run to: I don't listen to anything when I run.

Favorite place to train or running route: I run through Andover and try to get on the trails when possible.

Training buddies: I typically train by myself

Anticipated marathon sneaker: Saucony Ride 16

Run you’re most proud of: I have had a few great races throughout my running career but any relatively pain free run is to be celebrated.

Is this your first Boston? YES!!

Best marathon advice you’ve received: practice patience, it's a long day

Best marathon training tip: Find the plan that works for you and stick to it. Make therapy, recovery, stretching part of training.

Part of the race you’re most looking forward to: the crowds along the way and hoping to take it all in to remember the experience

Favorite MVS memory/moment: I really enjoy hanging out for a meal after running. It doesn't matter if its a hosted run or Thursday pub run day or post race, being able to celebrate with friends is great!

Last word / Anything to add: Thank you MVS for the opportunity. I still pinch myself every once in a while.

Sushil Motwani

When Did you Join MVS; What ways are you involved in the club:

Joined MVS in 2013, and have been involved in the club ever since, mostly doing 5Ks from 2013 to 2021, and continued the Couch to 5K program (unofficially) for a couple of years after the Feaster Five Race, so that runners met on Sunday after Thanksgiving, and ran every Sunday. Since, 2021, I have been more active with the club, and started running longer distances ( I don't know why :) ). Here are some other ways in which I was involved:

Hosted Run

Volunteer for Mt. Washington Race (Twice)

Packet Stuffing for Boston Marathon – 2022, 2023

Human Chain for Boston Marathon – 2022, 2016, 2017

Feaster Five Expo – Registration and Welcome – Last 10 years (except 2023)

Merrimack Valley Striders Ambassador for Feaster Five in 2020 and 2021

Why Boston? And Goal for 2024 Boston Marathon:

Boston is my home base. After becoming a long distance runner since 2021, I always wanted Boston to be my first ever marathon, but it turned out to be Chicago last year. I have been bitten by the Marathon bug, and now I have extreme gratitude for this opportunity given to me by Merrimack Valley Striders. Since, this is my first Boston Marathon, my only goal is to be at the start line will no injuries, and finish the race, and enjoy the experience that this Marathon will provide me.

Favorite song to run to:

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (An Indian song, in a movie about Milkha Singh whose biopic about representing India at the Olympics) Milkha Singh is the name of the Olympian, and the words go "Run Milkha Run", similar to "Run Forrest Run"

Favorite place to train or running route:

I don't have a favorite place or route. My favorite route is when I am NOT running alone, and have some company during my run.

Training buddies:

Shilpa Joshi, My MVS Pod Squad, and a few friends that I have made with other running clubs around the area.

Anticipated marathon sneaker:

Brooks Glycerin 20 (most likely) OR New Balance 1080 Fresh Foam 13

Run you’re most proud of:

The Newburyport Half Marathon last year (October 2023), three weeks after Chicago Marathon, and I PRed by over 5 mins.

Is this your first Boston?


Best marathon advice you’ve received:

Tom Licciardello has already provided me the best advice, and I am a runner due to him. Advice for Boston Marathon: Go Slow, slower than Marathon Pace for the first 16-17 miles as it is mostly downhill, and you will have the energy to push yourself for the last 10 miles.

Best marathon training tip:

80% of your training runs need to be slower (almost 30secs to a min slower / mile) and then the rest should be other training runs like Interval, Marathon Pace and ... but that needs to be only 20% of the distance.

Part of the race you’re most looking forward to:

I have already trained on Heartbreak Hill as part of this training cycle, and it is not as bad as most folks speak about even at mile 20-21 (especially if you follow Tom's advice above). So, the favorite part for me will be turning Left on Boylston St, and see the finish line and give a Hug to my best friend Tom at the Finish Line, and then meet my family (wife) and Shilpa's family, and then the rest of all the folks I see at the finish line.

Favorite MVS memory/moment:

Too many moments to mention, but I would say that the Feaster Five Races, and the Couch to 5K leading to the race, are my favorite things to look forward to in the fall.

Last word / Anything to add:

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon 2024 (FIRST EVER Boston Marathon for me) Monday, April 15th 2024 with your support. Thank you for securing a bib for me – I am honored to be part of such an amazing running community. This will be my 2nd World Marathon, and the 2nd Marathon of my short running journey so far.

Your encouragement means the world to me, and I'm excited to represent Merrimack Valley Striders in this prestigious event.

Thank You !! Thank You !! Thank You !!

I just do not know how to express my gratitude for this opportunity, and I humbly accept this Honor bestowed on me by my parent running club "Merrimack Valley Striders".

My love for running has extended my friend circle, to not just the Merrimack Valley Striders, but to other wonderful running clubs around the area, and to get the bib through MVS for Boston Marathon shows how much you care for your babies (I am a baby in the running community).

With heartfelt thanks!!


Road Runners Club of America USATF - New England Mill Cities Relay