Editor’s Note: For this week, we sat down with Officer Brett DiPanfilo, one of five members of the Saugus Police Department who are registered to run in the 127th Boston Marathon, which is set for Patriots’ Day, April 17. This is the first in a series of interviews with each of the Saugus Police marathon runners that will be published in The Saugus Advocate over the next four weeks, leading up to Patriots’ Day weekend. We will highlight each runner’s marathon running background, how they prepare for the grueling 26.2 mile course that will draw a field of 30,000 runners from all over the world, their motivation to run a marathon and the charity they are running for. Officer DiPanfilo, 31, is a 2011 graduate of Saugus High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Salem State University, and he has been a member of the Saugus Police Department for two years. He is running for the TB12 Foundation. Highlights of this week’s interview follow.
Q: How did you get involved in Marathon running?
A: During the pandemic when gyms closed, I needed a way to stay healthy and in shape. Endurance running is one of the best ways to do that.
Q: And why Boston?
A: There are a lot of charities involved with the Boston Marathon, so I felt it was a great opportunity to give back, plus I love to run, so it was a no-brainer.
I’ll be running for the TB12 Foundation, founded by seven-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady. The TB12 Method that he preaches is an excellent and innovative system, and I feel that a lot of people can benefit from it to improve their overall wellness. Through their charity work, the TB12 Foundation makes this innovative system more accessible and helps those at risk to overcome economic or health-related obstacles to reach their performance goals.
Q: When did you start running?
A: About three years ago.
Q: How long have you been running? Why do you run? What do you get out of it?
A: I’ve been running for about three years. I run to get mentally stronger and to stay physically healthy. On top of that, this year I’ll be running for charity, which I’m grateful for that opportunity.
Q: How many Boston Marathons have you run in?
A: This will be my first one.
Q: Talk about the sense of accomplishment you get from this exhausting and physically challenging activity. Not everybody gets out and runs a Boston Marathon.
A: It’s a great feeling. Marathons are really a challenge of your mind, body and spirit. You get to see what you’re made of and, through all that suffering, on the other side you come out a stronger and better person.
Q: What’s it like at the start of the race? Or, what do you think it will be like?
A:. There’s a lot of energy and obviously a lot of runners. It’s really exciting.
Q: Do you have friends or running buddies you’ll be running with in this year’s marathon?
A: There will be four other runners from the Saugus Police Department competing in the race this year.
Q: How many miles do you do in an average year?
A: A lot.
Q: Do you do other marathon races besides Boston? Or, is this your first marathon? And will you run in others this year?
A: I’ve run the Chicago Marathon in 2021 and the Berlin Marathon – with food poisoning – in 2022.
Q: Running a marathon in Berlin with food poisoning? So, what was that like?
A: Running the Berlin Marathon with food poisoning was by far the hardest thing I’ve had to do athletically. It was grueling, but I knew I could dig deep and finish the race after months of training.
Q: How do you prepare mentally and physically for this event?
A: I just make sure I’m focused on my training, taking care of my body by using the TB12 pliability roller and staying hydrated.
Q: Any special meal regimen you do before the race? Like carbo loading?
A: Definitely, a lot of carbs and a lot of water.
Q: How many pairs of shoes do you go through during the course of a year?
A: Three to four pairs.
Q: Do you have any personal connection to the Boston Marathon bombings? Like, lost a friend or relative?
A: I do not.
Q: What cause will you be running for this year? If you are running for a charity.
A: As I previously mentioned, I’ll be running for the TB12 Foundation. This foundation’s purpose is highlighted in their mission statement, as they “help at-risk athletes access the practitioners and programming they need – including pliability treatments, functional strength & conditioning, and advice related to nutrition, hydration, and cognitive health – to overcome injuries or obstacles that would otherwise keep them sidelined.”
It’s a really noble and important foundation. What the TB12 method and foundation preaches is second to none. It provides tools and resources to those who are most “at-risk,” whether it be for the underprivileged, military, first responders, or others who have been through trauma, physically and mentally. To donate, please seehttps://www.givengain.com/ap/brett-dipanfilo-raising-funds-for-tb12-foundation/
Q: What’s your fondest Boston Marathon memory? That would be as an observer.
A: Definitely, after the tragedy of 2013, the next year the race was still held. This really showed how the spirit of Boston, America and even the world can be unbreakable.
Q: How long will you keep running this race?
A: I don’t plan on stopping my endurance journey any time soon, so, hopefully, I get to run it multiple times.
Q: After running a Boston Marathon, what will you do the next day?
A: Rest, eat a lot of pizza and drink a lot of water.
Q: Have any friends or family members run this race before?
A: I have a few friends that have run it before.
Q: Anything else that you would like to share about this experience?
A: It’s just an honor to be able to give back to and run on behalf of such great foundations such as the TB12 Foundation and CharityTeams, which was founded by Susan Hurley and assists the TB12 Foundation, as well many other charities. It’s been a great experience and I’m grateful for the opportunity!