Christie BonacciBy Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso

Many years ago, Christie Bonacci and a friend dragged their combined five young children all over DC to support the kids’ dads as they ran the Marine Corps Marathon. Despite waiting at five different cheering stations, neither the moms nor the kids ever spotted their runners. They saw lots of other friends who were running, but not their dads. Finally, they took a taxi back to their hotel. “My husband walked in and I said, ‘are you sure you ran that thing?’” Bonacci laughed. “The only proof was the line of salt on his forehead from sweating through 26 miles.”

Now it’s Bonacci’s turn to run the Marine Corps Marathon, which will be her first. “I was having a rough day and I hadn’t been exercising consistently for several months,” she recalled. “It just came to me that I should run the Marine Corps Marathon. It was an easy choice to run on behalf of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society because I’d volunteered with them and also worked for the Society as a relief services assistant. I realized I could get back in shape and do something good.”

When her children were young, Bonacci volunteered as a caseworker and budget for baby instructor and worked at NMCRS Cherry Point in North Carolina. “NMCRS does amazing work. They hold clients accountable for becoming invested in getting their personal finances together. I am a firm believer in financial education and responsibility, and NMCRS provides that, even while life is throwing curveballs at you. NMCRS is the silver lining on the dark cloud.”

“Budget for baby was a great class to teach because there were so many young adults about to become parents – and they have no idea what they’re doing!” she said. “None of us do when those first babies arrive! I was educating them on personal financial matters and helping them become financially responsible through preparation, thinking, and planning.”

Her commitment to supporting NMCRS through her MCM run has kept Bonacci going through what she calls “grueling training.” Bonacci sweated through 5:30 am training runs this summer in the North Carolina’s heat and humidity. “I thought having one kid in college now I would have more free time,” she said. “But I don’t, and marathon training takes a lot of time. If I weren’t running for NMCRS, I would’ve stopped.” Her dedication has resulted in more than $4,100 in donations so far for the Society. She set that amount as her goal because she turned 41 this year. Surprised yet grateful for the generosity of her donors, she continues to fundraise and train.

“That first day I ran three miles, and I’m following the training regimen on marathonrookie.com. Now, I’m six weeks before the marathon, and I’m hoping I don’t die!”

To support Bonacci’s Marine Corps Marathon run on behalf of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, visit https://donate.nmcrs.org/page/outreach/view/mcm-2016/Christie.

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