I always knew that running was a source of strength and support, but this past week I am prouder than ever to be part of the NYC running community. On August 22, 2013, a beloved Dashing Whippets teammate, Rob Petrocelli, passed away. He was only 38 years old, and I will miss him very much. I have very fond memories of running the Fairfield Half Marathon and various NYRR races with him, and also spent some time with him and Fanny at the Disneyland Half back in 2011. I send my deepest condolences to the Petrocelli family and his loved ones.
My amazing teammate Simon put together a Crowdrise fundraising page for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to accept donations in Rob’s memory. Many Whippets attended his wake at Frederick’s funeral home in Queens, and we smiled when we saw the memory boards his family put together of Rob proudly sporting his Whippets jersey in old race photos. It’s times like these when a team becomes much more than just a group of people to run with; this week I felt like my team was my family when we supported each other in our sense of loss.
I was able to pay my respects at his funeral on Thursday. Although he is gone, his memory will live on through his family, friends, and in his accomplishments as a Dashing Whippets team member and Marathon Maniac.
I posted to his page:
“Rob, I’m dedicating my 2013 ING NYC Marathon to you this year. I feel honored to have been your Dashing Whippets teammate and fellow Maniac. You made a whole lot of people smile, and I remember sharing great times with you in the Fairfield Half and a whole slew of NYRR races. I’m so in awe that you qualified for Boston and ran it the year it was so hot–I remember you giving me a thumbs-up when I saw you while volunteering at a water station. I hope to run Boston one day just like you. Rest in peace, my friend.”