The Playworks Boston Marathon Run for Recess team officially completed the 121st Boston Marathon this past week. But for two of our runners, Mark Adamiak and Victoria Kay, the work does not stop there. Mark and Victoria not only trained for the Boston Marathon and raised funds for Playworks, but every dollar they raised was matched by Positive Tracks.
Positive Tracks is a national, sports-based youth development organization that helps young people get active and give back. Positive Tracks helps participants ages 23 or under sweat for good for Playworks New England.
With the help of the Positive Tracks challenge grant, Mark and Victoria were able to raise more than $31,500 for Playworks New England. Learn more about Victoria and Mark below.
Fifteen years ago, Mark Adamiak, of Somerville, met one of his best friends, Trevor Perry, of Boston, playing capture the flag. The boys often participated in neighborhood pick-up games, challenging their strategic thinking and team building skills as well as their physical abilities. Now, the life-long friends are training together to run in what will be Adamiak’s first marathon, the Boston Marathon. They will lace up to support Playworks New England to give youth the same opportunities to play that they had during and after the school day.
Perry works for the nonprofit as a Playworks Coach. He leads elementary school students through activities and games during recess and provides training for Boston Public School staff to help them translate skills and lessons learned from the playground to the classroom. Perry’s stories of positively impacting his students through the power of play inspired Adamiak to get involved with the organization.
“A kid’s development isn’t limited to what he or she does in the classroom. What kids do on the playground plays a huge part in who they will become as adults,” says Adamiak. “People often don’t correlate the benefits of recess with things like test scores that schools are judged on. But, recess is something that they don’t even realize. Recess is mentally stimulating and not just physical and fun.”
Adamiak is one of six Playworks New England team members who will run for the cause, donning red and purple singlets with the Playworks logo front and center. Although this is his first marathon, he is no stranger to hitting the pavement. In high school, the self-proclaimed novice runner ran track and cross country. In college at Bentley University, Adamiak played ultimate frisbee and joined a running club where he began competing in mid-distance races, including 5Ks, 10Ks, and two half-marathons.
“A lot of people have the mentality that they can’t run a marathon because they are intimidated by the distance,” says Adamiak. “The hardest part for me is the commitment—you have to be willing to put in the work. But, you just need to take it one step at a time and to run for a cause that is close to your heart makes the work that much more rewarding.”
To learn more about Mark and his passion for Positive Tracks, watch this video.
As a second-year medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine, Victoria Kay, of Quincy, knows how important physical activity is not only for your health but also for your social and emotional development. Now, she is lacing up to hit the pavement for the nonprofit in what will be her first time running the Boston Marathon.
“Growing up, playing handball and kickball with my peers during recess created some of my fondest memories,” says Kay. “In hindsight, I took the time and the space we had for healthy play for granted. It played a critical role in my development as a friend, teammate, and leader. The Playworks’ mission really aligns with my mission as a future doctor by providing youth with the opportunity to develop healthy habits of exercise, while building social and interpersonal skills that will carry on into adulthood.”
As an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame, Kay began to run and participated in her school’s famous half-marathon, the Holy Half, all four years. The self-proclaimed novice runner now averages up to 20 miles a week in preparation for her first marathon: the historic Boston Marathon.
“In my family, I never saw myself as an athlete. Rather, I was book-smart,” says Kay. “I really surprised myself running those four half-marathons followed by a mini triathlon. Each time, I set bigger goals and took baby steps to achieve those goals. If I can do it, anyone can!”
“I want my kids to have a healthy future like the one I’ve been afforded,” says Kay, who hopes to raise $7,500 for the nonprofit. “That is why I am running for Playworks New England.”
To learn more about Victoria and her passion for Positive Tracks, watch this video.