CHS Senior to Run in Boston Marathon on her Birthday

October 20, 2017


by Sue Krzeminski

This will be the biggest run of Catie Callinan’s life.  On April 16, the Campbell High senior will participate in the Boston Marathon.  To add to the excitement, she turns 18 that day, and that makes her the youngest participant in the marathon this year.

It seems everything has aligned perfectly for April 16 for Catie, who first started running in fifth grade and has been on both the cross country and track teams throughout high school.  One constant at every single race over the years has been that special face greeting her at the finish line.  Her grandfather, Wayne Gagne, has never missed a race.  Naturally, he’ll be front and center among her throng of family and friends when she crosses the finish line in Boston.

“He’s my biggest supporter,” said Catie.  “He was beyond excited when I told him I would be running in the Boston Marathon.  He was the first person I called when I found out I’d been accepted.  I thought it would be a great present to run for him.”

So, on Catie’s birthday, she will be giving her grandpa a present – running in his honor as part of the Liver Foundation team.  Her grandfather has suffered from non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver for as long as she can remember.  When Catie found out about the Liver Foundation from a family friend, Kari Scopelites of Litchfield, she knew she had to do it.  Kari ran as part of the team last year.  One day it struck Catie that running the marathon in her grandpa’s honor and raising money for the Liver Foundation would be the ultimate Campbell High senior project.

“The senior project is supposed to be something you enjoy doing,” Catie said.  Other Campbell seniors volunteer at animal shelters or soup kitchens.  For Catie, it made perfect sense that she would combine two loves –running and her grandfather– to benefit a cause that has directly impacted her family.

Despite holding three running records at Campbell – the cross country two-mile race, 3,200m race, and 4 x 800m relay – Catie has never run a marathon before.  The farthest distance she has tackled has been in two half marathons.  She won’t start training until she finishes the cross country season, probably around Thanksgiving.  On Nov. 4, Campbell cross country qualifiers will compete in the states on and then the following week in the Meet of Champions for New England.  Catie will continue her running career at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.  Her letter of intent signing will take place at CHS on Nov. 8 at 10:30 a.m.  Of course, her family, friends, and grandpa Wayne will surely be close at hand as she signs on the dotted line.

As for the Boston Marathon, “I just want to be able to cross the finish line.”  She doesn’t worry about what her time will be.  For Catie, this undertaking is all about raising money for a cause that is close to her heart.

Catie had to sign a contract to raise $6,000 by April 30.   She hopes to raise as much as she can before the holidays because she feels that is the time when people are thinking most of those in need.  The Campbell community has already rallied around her to help her reach her goal.  She will begin collecting donations at lunchtime at CHS from Mon., Oct. 23 through Friday, Nov. 3.  A donation box will also be available in the front office as well as the guidance department.  On Nov. 15, the school administration will accept the community challenge as she achieves various goal levels:  1,000, $1,500 and $2,000.  Donations will be accepted at