(originally posted on blog.spartanrace.com)
Every journey begins with a single step, and for anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed by starting, there has never been a better time than now. There has never been a better reason than because today is the day. For Marina Gentile that story has been a memorable one. For the last year, she has been on a mission – to become an athlete for the first time in her life and at the tender age of 45. She’s lost 125 pounds in the process and proved that setting goals, investing in your own life, and taking chances opens doors never thought possible. Her next stop? Spartan's Fenway Race.
“Spartan Race was among one of the first goals I set for myself. I have had quite a re-birth, completely transformed my life in the last year, I am training aggressively at the gym now, trying new sports and activities, and becoming more and more active in my life and with my kids since now I am able to introduce more activities to them too.”
Gentile is in her gym six days a week, three of those days working with her personal trainer , Robbie Sherwood. While she admits she probably has 50 pounds or so left to lose, she’s stronger than she’s ever been and more the athlete than she ever thought possible. When the Fenway Spartan Race was announced, the self-proclaimed, “Boston girl born and raised, living in Yankee country way too long,” knew she had to be a part of the event. She emphasizes that for her it isn't about the number on the scale.
"Honestly, one of the biggest things I attribute to my success has been that for the first time in my life it is NOT about the weight and dieting... it is like the weight coming off is a natural consequence of my new active lifestyle and not the focus. I feel so strong & healthy and great about myself, so fit. I focus on the positives of having lots of fun every day and trying new activities, loving my training, setting activity goals for myself instead of weight goals."
“Fenway is calling to me...” she laughs. Gentile’s trainer knows she is ready and she’s been training for race day with the expectation that she’ll be even more competitive the next time around. Running with Team Relentless, she and several others will descend on Fenway to race.
“They are all threatening to wear Mets & Yankees jerseys to my hometown so I am just hoping we don't get beaten up on the streets before we even get through the gates!” jokes Gentile.
She’s had a tough time getting any women in her age group to go with her, but she’s not going to stop trying. “My amazing husband of 18 years, Alan Alford, is coming along to Fenway as well, he has promised to take great pictures and video and hug me at the finish line.”
Inspired by the infamous Phoenix fabled to rise from the ashes, Gentile says, “I am fascinated by the Phoenix lately and all that it symbolizes, have had such a rebirth through burning down old ways and habits and negative body image messages.”
“I have been limited for so long, that now all I want to do is feel limitless, for me that means trying new activities and pushing and challenging my body to see how far it will go. I have a lot of limited years to make up for, but I am still pretty young and strong and (as Robbie pointed out to me) seem to have enough positive energy to take on the world single-handedly right now! I am so out of my mind with excitement for Spartan Fenway right now, and really super terrified all at the same time! But I am so doing this... bringing the same A-Game and relentless determination that has gotten me through the last year of taking control of my own life and moving it in a very positive direction!
See you at the finish line, Marina.