Brooke Magni

REVELO ISSUE 04 • Written by Michael C. Upton

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In 2018, Brooke Magni ran 26 miles in pouring rain and blistering winds from Hopkinton, Massachusetts to the Boston Public Library. Before this, her first Boston Marathon, she had completed a handful of other marathons and half marathons; prep for this race took about four months.

“Boston is the quintessential marathon. That’s why every runner wants to do it,” says Brooke less than a year after finishing the race. For Brooke, preparing herself for running has been synonymous with preparing herself for life. “When you want to do something like run a marathon or get a college degree you have to think, ‘What’s my plan and how do I get there?’ Prepare, research, and put a road map in place. That’s how I got there. No matter what is going on in your life. No matter what dumpster fire you are getting through today, just try to develop an attitude where you know that you can turn it around somehow.”

There was a time in her life when she needed to “turn it around” and running got her there.

The Warwick grad started running in junior high school as training for field hockey. Field hockey did not end up working out for her and she wound up lettering in cross country, almost by mistake. She enjoyed long distance running even more than field hockey and eventually attended Kutztown University to compete with the collegiate team. But things didn’t go well from the start.

“I ended up breaking my leg. I had two stress fractures before going to school,” says Brooke, who was dumped into the “crappy dorm” where even smoking was still allowed. The entire situation was just not good for Brooke and she did not return for a second semester. She came back to Lancaster County, stopped running, and soon found herself in a toxic relationship.

“I was dealing with a lot of adult issues that at 18 and 19 years old, I wasn’t ready to deal with,” she admits. “I really lost myself.”

She was directionless and without a path to achieve her goals. Sitting in Pod 2 of Rock Lititz, where she is now the director of Lititz recROC (and she admits she is not a good rock climber), Brooke doesn’t really want to get into too many details about that rough patch in her life.

“Running was what pulled me out of that funk and depression. It gave me purpose. Seeing accomplishments was a really big deal,” recalls Brooke. “When you go through crappy stuff, it is a hard time… especially when you are not ready to deal with adult issues.”

Rebounding, her life gained momentum. She met a man who became her husband, got married, and had a baby. She went back to school, a goal she always wanted to attain. She grabbed some credits at HACC, enrolled in Millersville as a Psychology major, and got a master’s degree in Sports Management. It all started because she began running again.

“You have to find something that gives you worth. If that is knitting or running or whatever, you need to find that and stick with it no matter what else is going on in your life,” she says.

While at Millersville, Brooke started working with Girls on the Run, a national initiative inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident through an experience-based curriculum centered on running. She had just finished her undergrad thesis on the positive effect sports can have on young women and began work with the GotR 6th and 8th grade program (now called Heart & Sole) at Penn Manor School District.

“It was interesting to see the perspective girls have about running because it’s not typically a girl’s sport,” says Brooke. It wasn’t until 1960 that women were allowed to participate in running events at the Summer Olympics. In 1967 the first woman (Kathrine Switzer) “illegally” ran and finished the Boston Marathon; she was promptly banned from the Amateur Athletic Union. Runner Jackie Joyner- Kersee became the first female athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1987. Brooke ran her first marathon in Philadelphia shortly after the birth of her first child and she admits she was completely unprepared for it. Coming across the finish line she was miserable, but that did not stop her. There is no end in sight to her future running goals.

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