St. Ephrem Community Cheers on School Squad at the 45th Annual NYC Marathon

Erin DeGregorio

St. Ephrem School mother Gadeer Giordano spots her cheering squad in Bay Ridge as she races her first NYC Marathon. (Brooklyn, New York) (Sunday, November 6) / Photo: Erin DeGregorio

While a record 51,338 people participated in the New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 6, a small group of parents and employees from St. Ephrem School ran and completed the 26.2-mile race together. After running the first 20 minutes of the race from Staten Island, the group was welcomed with loud cheers and high fives from the St. Ephrem School family in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Many parents and children from the Dyker Heights school came out early to greet and support mother Gadeer Giordano, mother Stefanie Fadel, physical education teacher Claudia Nigro, and Title I Math teacher Camille Mainolfi.

Everyone from the school community gathered in front of the Mathis family home on the corner of Bay Ridge Parkway and 7th Avenue to cheer on the runners from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Melissa LoFaso, whose daughters attend St. Ephrem’s, handed out pre-printed support signs to those lined up on the sidelines for Giordano and Fadel – also known as the “Running Brooklyn Mamas.”

Erin DeGregorio

Giordano and Mainolfi are greeted by their supporters on the sidelines during the NYC Marathon. (Brooklyn, New York) (Sunday, November 6) / Photo: Erin DeGregorio

“School doesn’t stop at the building – anything that we can do outside of school to celebrate the community is amazing,” said Amy Mathis.

Kris and Amy Mathis, parents of four St. Ephrem School students have hosted the ‘Marathon Morning’ party outside their residence for the past nine years.

“We have an open house for members of the school and neighborhood to come and celebrate a fun event every year,” said Amy Mathis. “We’re the first section the runners see as they come off the Verrazano Bridge, beginning their marathon.”

Erin DeGregorio

Giordano and Mainolfi take a moment to hug their friends during the first half hour of the NYC Marathon. (Brooklyn, New York) (Sunday, November 6) / Photo: Erin DeGregorio

Her husband set up his DJ equipment outside their backyard to provide a party for both the incoming runners and local residents for the morning.

“Those runners have been standing by the bridge since 5 a.m. and this allows them to get reenergized as they come into Brooklyn,” said Kris Mathis. “They’re met along the route by many bands, so this is another way for them to have some fun.”

Many of the runners did become reenergized as they ran, once they heard the upbeat music coming from Mathis’ DJ booth, blaring and encouraging them to keep on going. Some sang along to whatever lyrics were playing at the moment and even did a quick little dance moves as they passed the house and cheering crowd.

“I can’t believe it!! It was always my dream to run in the NYC Marathon,” said Giordano in an Instagram post later that evening. “I can’t begin to thank my St. E’s family for coming and cheering us on today!”

The group of women that Giordano worked out with began training for this marathon at the end of the summer, while having trained and competed in other races throughout the year. They ran in the rain, heat and windy conditions during many early mornings before dropping their kids off at school or clocking into work at school themselves to teach.

Mainolfi crossed the finish line in Central Park at 4:43:49, Fadel at 4:51:04, Giordano at 4:51:08, and Nigro at 5:05:04.

According to Runner’s World, “This year’s race was the largest in the world in 2016, well ahead of the Paris Marathon, which had 41,708 finishers in April.”

Should the St. Ephrem Squad decide to run again in next year’s NYC Marathon their families and friends from school will most certainly be there in Bay Ridge to give them the needed support and boost to carry on with completing the race.

Erin DeGregorio

St. Ephrem School students' handmade posters and signs for the St. Ephrem Squad running in the NYC Marathon. (Brooklyn, New York) (Sunday, November 6) / Photo: Erin DeGregorio

Erin DeGregorio

Nearby signage for the NYC Marathon at McKinley Park on the east side of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. (Brooklyn, New York) (Sunday, November 6) / Photo: Erin DeGregorio