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ASF in the NYC Marathon: Marlisa Mattia

Six runners are representing and raising money for the Adaptive Sports Foundation by participating in the 2023 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 5. One of our runners, Marlisa Mattia, decided to share a little bit about her running story and why she chose to run with the ASF below. Please consider donating to Marlisa’s fundraising page by clicking here.

Running a full marathon tests your limits in ways that you would never imagine and when you complete it, you realize that any goal is possible to achieve if you invest the proper time and energy. It is by far the ultimate test of physical and mental endurance.

About two years ago, I faced a close to near death experience. My only survival was self-defense. After that experience, I decided to begin training for my second marathon, The Miami Marathon, and that is when I realized that running helped me discover who I was. It is also when I met my coach, Ricky Turner.

Marlisa (right) representing New York with trainer Ricky (left)

Training with Ricky was healing not only from a spiritual, physical aspect, but mental as well. Ricky taught me to face and fight fear. I suffered many sleepless nights, as flashbacks of the attack remained in my head. My biggest challenge was realizing that I was getting in the way of myself. Ricky’s words forever remain in my mind which are, “no matter how difficult the challenge or obstacle it may be, never give up.”

Running isn’t just a sport to me. It’s meditation and an outlet. It’s discipline. It’s power. It’s the strength you feel when you go from running a lap to a mile to a marathon. It is seeing your own body transform right before your eyes. When you see how you can physically turn around due to consistency and hard work, it’s confirmation that you too can then turn around emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well.

Life will always have its ups and downs but running changed my perspective. Every time I go for a run, I always end up talking to someone. I get a lot of people that want to know what I do to keep myself motivated to run or how hard it is to get to this point. I’ve even met some that have similar backgrounds as me, as they share some very personal things in hopes to figure out how to use fitness as an outlet as well.

I am truly excited and blessed to be running my third marathon in New York City, as it has been a literal dream come true. I’ve been given the opportunity to do so by the Adaptive Sports Foundation, which is an amazing charity that provides life-changing experiences for children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities and chronic illnesses through outdoor physical activity, education, support and community, which in turn has tremendous physical, psychological and social benefits. The ASF has helped several victims that have suffered trauma as I did by helping them use exercise and outdoor activity as an outlet and healing therapy.

I am truly grateful for the Adaptive Sports Foundation.

By Marlisa Mattia