The Gratitude Marathons

Amy Colombo is an energetic, accomplished runner, an ultra-marathoner, in fact. Just last year, she won the Hellcat 50K in Green Cove Springs, FL, and the Trident Marathon de las Muertas in Jupiter, FL.

Amy Columbo running

While today she enjoys wonderful, meaningful relationships with friends, family, and work, her life wasn’t always so positive and impactful. Amy struggled with a debilitating substance use disorder from the age of 12. She didn’t receive any treatment or begin a recovery program until she was incarcerated at 27. Once she was released to a lower security facility, she began taking better care of herself and working out at a gym.

“I initially started working out for the same reason everyone else does, to stay in shape. But it’s become so much more for me. I run because it brings me so much peace. It’s a lifestyle, and it’s a big part of how I cope.”

Eventually, Amy got into MMA and CrossFit. When she moved to Florida, a CrossFit gym friend invited her to join a Women for Tri program. She jumped into the sport wholeheartedly, discovering that running was her favorite part of the sport.

“I had no idea what a triathlon was…[but] of course, I said yes because that’s just who I am.”

So, it was no big surprise when Amy decided to celebrate her 40th birthday by running a marathon (26.2 miles) every weekend from her 39th birthday, November 2021, to her 40th birthday, November 2022, calling her effort “The Gratitude Marathons.”

Amy decided to celebrate her birthday by celebrating her recovery and helping others with her efforts. Amy connected with Team Herren Project, setting up a campaign using the Own Your Own Event option for her Gratitude Marathons. She exceeded all expectations along her extraordinary journey, finishing her 53rd marathon on November 5, 2022, raising more than $7,000 towards her $5,000 goal to support the transformational work of Herren Project.

“I had spoken with a few of my amazing friends about my past, but I still hide it from many. Even those who know I have a past of addiction likely do not realize the extent. That is because, up until now, I had been unwilling to disclose the embarrassing and painful events from my past. But having met a friend who is working with Herren Project, I knew it was time. I want to show those who know me that it is possible for someone to rise out of the deepest depths of despair to a new life that is productive and meaningful.”

Amy’s message after she accomplished her final marathon included these powerful words:

“Entering a community of people…was one of the best things I have ever done for myself…the gifts have been endless! And this was not an overnight thing, nor is it a journey that will ever end, but just reaching out one time and taking one step out of the comfort zone can change a life forever!”

We would love to have you join Team Herren Project and be part of our growing, supportive community. Anyone is welcome, regardless of skill! Be sure to check out all of Team Herren Project’s upcoming events here.