Meet our runners: Helen Bohnenberger

Thanks to the John Hancock 2014 Non-Profit Marathon Program, Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) was presented with an amazing opportunity to once again participate in the B.A.A. Boston Marathon® on April 21, 2014. We also have a cohort of dedicated and resilient runners who ran for Team MMP in 2013 and are returning to run in 2014 and help fuel the mentoring movement in Massachusetts. We want you to meet our amazing runners. Let’s go Team MMP!

Runner: Helen Bohnenberger 
Hometown: Falmouth, MA
Occupation: Registered nurse at Cape Cod Hospital Mugar 4
If your life were a movie, what would you title it?: Hurricane’s Hurricane
Longest run to date or previous marathons completed: First marathon! First half marathon completed in February; longest run 15 miles
Favorite song to listen to while running: Til I Collapse by Eminem
Favorite post-run snack: Peanut butter and banana sandwich
Favorite way to work out besides running: Playing field hockey!
  1. What inspired you to run the 2014 Boston Marathon for MMP? I set a goal for myself to run the marathon for a charity, despite how hard and competitive it would be. MMP was a charity I had not previously heard of before. I found out about the charity through a family friend, and was interviewed for the number. Once I learned more about the program, I felt such a strong connection right away. I want the youth of MA to have the same opportunities and guidance that I did from amazing mentors in my own life. The mentors and mentees from the mentoring programs that MMP works with, as well as mentors in my own life, are inspiring me to run Boston 2014.
  2. What has been the most rewarding experience of your training and/or fundraising so far? My first race I ever ran was on Feb. 22 of this year, and it was a half marathon. When I began my training, running anything over two miles was difficult for me – I played field hockey for 10 years and our training was mainly short distance and sprinting. Crossing the finish line for the half marathon, and completing my first-ever race was exciting and humbling. I saw amazing things that day, which pushed me to do my personal best and to continue on this rewarding journey.
  3. Tell me about your experience with mentoring. Who has been a significant mentor to you? I have had the privilege to have many wonderful mentors in my life. First and foremost, my family members have all been great mentors leading me in the right direction and encouraging all my dreams. Beyond that though, I think it is extremely important to acknowledge my field hockey coaches. The lessons I have learned on the field about how to work as a team, how to be a good person, and how to “throw some dirt on it and keep playing,” have proved to be some of the most important life lessons. I may not have always gotten the playing time I wanted, may not have always heard the critiques I wanted to hear, and sometimes had to talk to coaches in adult situations, but I wouldn’t trade a second of it. There is no doubt in my mind that each coach of mine has pushed me to my full potential preparing me for the “real world” off the field. And for that, I am forever grateful for my coaches who mentored me through 10 years and some really important stages in my life.
  4. How have you seen mentoring working in your community? In my community, the Best Buddies program works in amazing ways. Our program has special need students and Falmouth High School students paired up for fun activities and interactions. All kids really enjoy this program. My mom and brother are both really involved in it. There’s homework help, time just to talk, fun activities to do together, and both students learning from each other.
  5. If you were mentoring yourself at age 10, what’s one piece of advice would you give? I would tell my 10-year-old self to listen more and talk less. Everyone is on their own journey in this life and everyone has stories to tell. Learn from each other. There are kind people in this world and mean people as well, but don’t let either be a standard of how you judge people. Look at the individual and try to learn from them.
  6. Complete this sentence: When I finish the 2014 Marathon, I will I will celebrate by…Eating a pizza, hugging my mom, and enjoying Boston for the night with the medal around my neck! If you would like to read more about Helen or make a donation to her fundraising, please visit her fundraising page