Jeannette Martimucci: Running to Give Back

Jeannette Martimucci 1

When Jeannette Martimucci, a third grade teacher at P.S. 59 in Manhattan, was looking for an extracurricular program to keep her students engaged and active, she found it in Young Runners.  A passionate runner and marathoner, Martimucci, along with two other teachers, Colleen Maresca and Kathryn McManus, introduced Young Runners to their school in 2012. At first, they weren’t sure how it would be received but were overwhelmed with the response. “We had 30 kids show up for 20 spots,” recalls Martimucci. “The kids love the program.”

She joined Team for Kids to “pay it forward and help keep running in the schools.” She uses her lifelong lessons as a runner, such as the importance of goal setting and never giving up, in her classroom discussions and the kids look forward to hearing how many miles she ran over the weekend in her training for the United NYC Half Marathon. “For me, the beauty of the Young Runners program is seeing these kids at the beginning of the program who can’t run around the block and a few weeks later are running a mile or more,” says Martimucci, who graduated from Teachers College at Columbia in 2009. “Their growth and maturity as runners also translates into the classroom as they become more focused.”

The entire school has embraced the Young Runners team. For their first race of the school year, the principal held a pep rally for them. “Over 100 students cheered for them and held up inspiring posters and banners to support them,” recalls Martimucci. “The kids felt like rock stars.”

Martimucci feels fortunate to be able to combine her two passions, teaching and running, and paying it forward to the next generation. She will be running the United NYC Half Marathon along with Maresca and McManus, and a few parents from the school. Says Martimucci: “It’s such a rush to see their enthusiasm for running. It’s going to change their lives for the better, like it did for me.”

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