CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Boston Marathon is less than a week away and one man has made the race a mission within a mission, all for a great cause.
The race is always held on Patriots Day in April, but the pandemic canceled it last year and it postponed it six months this year.
For many runners, the Boston Marathon is the pinnacle of road races, but Tom Paolino has an even bigger goal on the roads of Rhode Island that he’s slowly accomplishing while training for Boston.
“Every time someone asks me, ‘Did you do Boston Marathon?’ I’ll say, ‘No,’ so that inspired me,” Paolino said.
One week before his 55th birthday he will be lacing up in Hopkinton, making that legendary 26.2 mile journey through Massachusetts to Boylston Street to the finish line.
Even with 20 years of running experience, he says he still needs something to get out of bed each morning to train.
“Arizona Marathon, the P.F. Changs in Phoenix, Arizona. Toronto, Canada, I love the Blue Jays and Maple Leafs so that interest in Canada,” Paolino said. “I’ve run Cape Cod, Newport, and also the Providence or Ocean State Marathon a few of times.”
Paolino and his friend have a goal of running every single street in the state of Rhode Island and so far, he’s run five entire cities in the Ocean State.
“There’s actually a website city strides where they track every single street that you run in the state, so once you complete the entire city of Cranston it marks it on the map where you finish each city,” he explained. “It’s tough beause some of the cities in RI, there’s a lot of hilly areas, I don’t like hills.”
Aside from this goal, there is a reason why he’s running in the Boston Marathon.
“Burton Training Village out of Massachusetts for underprivileged children,” he said. “My in-laws and family are heavily involved in this.”
So far Paolino has raised over $5,000 for the nonprofit organization, which is named after Ron Burton, the first-ever draft pick of the New England Patriots.
The foundation aims at giving children opportunities like the one Burton was given as an impoverished orphan that changed his life.
The advice a coach apparently gave Burton one time that led to his success: wake up early and run long distance.