WOOD-RIDGE, N.J.– Mallory Garvin, of Wood-Ridge, celebrated her 30th birthday by running 30 miles – and raising money for charity.
"As my friends began to celebrate 30 in different ways I started to think about what I wanted to do," said Garvin, a Social Studies teacher at Wood-Ridge High School. "I immediately knew that the only thing I wanted to make sure I did was go for a long run."
Garvin, the assistant spring track coach at the school, finally had recovered from an overtraining injury.
"I suffered from severe tendonosis in both of my Achilles tendons," she said. "I ran the Boston Marathon with this injury in 2014 and could not run at all. I could barely walk at points for an entire year after.
"Since I have been able to run again I am so much more grateful for every mile I am able to accomplish."
In addition, she wanted to run for two causes close to home. The first is to remember a former classmate who died last summer.
"I grew up with Michael Incognito. We went to school together from kindergarten through to senior year of high school," Garvin said. "Michael had a great personality and was always making us laugh. He was a great person and the news of his death was heartbreaking."
The other is to support her friend's brother, Gianfranco Gervasio, who was injured in a diving accident, leaving him with spinal cord injury.
"He receives treatment at a rehabilitation center, Push to Walk, which specializes in helping those that suffer from spinal cord injures have a better quality of life, more mobility, and of course the hope to some day walk again," Garvin said.
"Being that I am a distance runner, I am well accustomed to training for distance and I took this training very seriously for months," she said. "I always take training very seriously and this run, meaning so much to me, I was more disciplined than ever."
It took Garvin almost six hours – she started at 6 a.m. – to complete the route . During her run, friends and family members joined her, while others were standing by with water and Gatorade.
"Out of the entire 30 miles I was only alone for fiveiles," Garvin said.
She returned to her apartment, where those closest to her were awaiting her arrival.
"I cannot express how wonderful it was," Garvin said. "It was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. There's no way I would have rather celebrated my 30th birthday."
Garvin plans to run a marathon in New York Oct. 2.