Niles man celebrates running anniversary by raising money for MetroParks


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By Jordyn Grzelewski

jgrzelewski@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Since Jan. 4, 1998, Bo Marchionte hasn’t missed a single day of running.

Rain or shine, in the freezing cold or sweltering heat, the Niles resident laces up his running shoes and puts in the miles.

Many of those miles have been logged in one location: Mill Creek Park. Just about every day for the past decade or so, the park has been his chosen running spot.

It helps that it’s close to home, but it’s more than that: It’s thousands of acres of natural terrain, preserved right next door to the city’s urban core.

“I’m not a world traveler by any stretch, but I don’t think people realize how blessed we are to have this here,” said Marchionte, after finishing up his daily run recently.

As the 20th anniversary of his unbroken running streak approached, Marchionte planned to have a little celebration with his family and friends. After he talked to a friend with experience in fundraising, however, the celebration turned into an effort to help the MetroParks.

A $2,500 goal was set. By the end of the fundraising push last month, Marchionte had raised $5,259 for the MetroParks’ foundation, thanks to donations from family, friends, local businesses and an event at Primanti Bros. restaurant in Niles.

The proceeds will start a new endowment fund for the upkeep of the MetroParks’ trail systems. Those interested in contributing to the fund can contact Chris Litton, MetroParks development director, at Litton@millcreekmetroparks.org.

“I am amazed at this long-term effort and dedication brought forth by Bo,” Aaron Young, MetroParks executive director, said. “With the MetroParks’ newly established endowment fund, this donation will aid in the continued enhancement of the MetroParks trail system for the enjoyment of our park visitors.

“This is a great example of setting a goal and working hard to make an impact with friends and family supporting you along the way,” Young added.

For Marchionte, contributing to the park’s preservation is special. He said it feels good to know that, thanks in part to his efforts, future generations will be able to enjoy the same trails he uses on a daily basis.

His runs take him all over the park – Fellows Riverside Gardens, Lanterman’s Mill, the Bears Den area.

“That’s the best part of the park – you can get around everywhere,” Marchionte said.

Usually, he will run 8 to 10 miles, and sometimes longer if he feels like it.

“It’s not a burden to me,” Marchionte said of running. “I want to be here. I wish I could have run 100 miles today.”

“I can’t explain it – I just love it,” he said.

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