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Two Mendon Upton Educators to be Marathoners

Mendon Upton Regional PreK-12 Music Coordinator Michael Morel, left and Superintendent of the Mendon Upton Regional School District Dr. Joseph Maruszczak will be running in the 2014 Boston Marathon to support theater and art programs at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts.





The Superintendent of the Mendon Upton Regional Schools Dr. Joseph Maruszczak will be lacing up his sneakers and running 26.2 miles to cross the finish line of the 2014 Boston Marathon in order to raise money for a local cause.

Maruszczak will be running in the April 21 race to raise money to support the Hopkinton Center for the Arts (HCA), an organization that provides visual and performing arts programs for the local community. "Many students in our district are involved in the HCA, in their theater and art programs. I am really happy to be working with an organization that has a local connection to Mendon and Upton," he said. Money raised for the HCA will be used for programming and for the building of a new arts center.

Maruszczak said that he has been a runner on and off since he was in his 20's, but has gotten very serious about the sport over the past few years. In 2013, Maruszczak competed in 27 different races, and kept up with his training in 2014 by competing in a half-marathon at the end of February in Hyannis. "It is such great exercise and a good stress reliever; being a runner has been very positive for me," he said.

Participating in the 118th running of the Boston Marathon this year will be especially meaningful to Maruszczak, not only because he will be competing in his first full marathon, but also because he was at the finish line of the 2013 marathon when the two bombs went off on Boylston Street, killing three people and injuring hundreds of others. "It was one of those times that is forever etched in my mind," he said. Maruszczak was sitting in the stands at the finish line with his daughter when the bombs went off. "It was very disturbing; we didn't know what was going on at first. I had a sense of needing to protect my daughter while getting out of the city as soon as possible," he said.

Maruszczak said that running in this year's Boston Marathon will be a "special event" for him. "Like most people, running in the Marathon this year will be extremely meaningful. I see it as a special celebration of the strength and resiliency of our region and a tribute to those whose lives were lost or injured last year," he said. "I consider myself very lucky and blessed to be a part of this," said Maruszczak.

Maruszczak will be joined, in both the race and in fundraising for HCA, by the district's PreK-12 Music Coordinator Michael Morel.

This will be Morel's first marathon as well, though he has competed in numerous races over the past few years including the half-marathon in Hyannis in late February. Morel said that he received the motivation to start running years ago from his wife, who is also an avid runner. Morel said that he was also inspired by his 9th grade English Teacher, Wayne Phipps, who ran the Marathon in 1996. "Ever since then I have gone to see the race every year I could. This year I really felt a pull to be a part of it, especially because of last year's tragedy," he said.

Morel also chose to support the HCA in raising money for their programs and for a new outdoor performance space they plan to build. "The HCA is a great community organization. They have Nipmuc alumni on their faculty, and students from our district are in their theater and music programs, taking part in lessons, and even playing in the pit for their performances," he said. Morel said that the HCA is a "great resource" for the students in Mendon Upton as well as surrounding towns and hopes that the district will have the opportunity to use the new outdoor venue for a future performance.

To make a tax-deductible donation to support either Maruszczak or Morel's fundraising efforts for the HCA, please visit http://www.hopartscenter.org/marathon-runners-2014 and click on the donate button under their bio's.




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