Team JAF Boston Marathon Runner John Christian

Every marathon is unique, whether it’s a runner’s first time traversing the hills of the 26.2 mile course or if they are a veteran.

It’s not John Christian’s first time running a marathon—in fact, it’s his 14th since he ran his first Boston in 2017. But this year, he is running in memory of his father, who passed away from cancer in October 2023.

The Boston Marathon® has always been present for John and his family. Growing up in Brookline, Marathon Monday was always a holiday. His dad would set up a barbecue, and they’d tailgate and watch the runners yearly. Somewhere along the line, John decided to run a marathon one day.

John has now been running marathons all around the world. He’s done New York, Berlin, Tokyo, London, Chicago, and many others. That doesn’t even include all the cities he’s flown to as a pilot, where he’s spent time training between flights and on days off.

“You make time for the important things that you want to make time for,” John said. “So, if I have to wake up at 4 a.m. and get my running in, that’s when I wake up.”

In five previous runs of the Boston Marathon®, John has run for different organizations under the Charity Teams umbrella. But he’s found a special connection being part of Team JAF, the marathon running team of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation.

“[I was] looking for a charity and decided to do JAF because of the cancer aspect and the people I met. They accepted me; it was just a great organization. It was just over that training cycle that I became family with them. Realize all the good they do and the people they’ve helped.”

So, when John decided to run again in honor of his late father, there was only one organization he wanted to run for. His dad met Joe during John’s first run for Team JAF and liked the organization.

“[I] thought it was a good fit to help other people battling this cancer.”

Running is now an integral part of John’s life. And it’s allowed him to stay connected with his dad’s memory.

“Every time I go out for my run, it feels like I’m going out with my dad, thinking about our time. It feels very solemn.”

John was not expecting to be still participating marathons all these years later. He thought he would be one and done, but he finds such joy in running.

The other thing that keeps John coming back is the people.

“There’s such fellowship with the marathon…[I] did my first marathon because I wanted to do it, check it off my list. But now on my 14th and [it’s] because of the people I’ve encountered, the causes I’ve helped, and the lives that [have been] touched have been so wonderful. JAF is just one of those organizations where I’m helping them, but they are helping me simultaneously… I can’t thank them enough for accepting me and allowing me to run on behalf of my dad.”

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