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Gina-Marie Principe, Amanda Buatti and Deni Marie Crowley will test themselves — at the NYC Marathon

BY Waleed Khan Oct 29, 2022. 04:36 pm UPDATED: Oct 29, 2022. 04:36 pm

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Reading, writing, math, and running are being expanded by a fourth R.

Next Monday, a group of Staten Island elementary school teachers who started a running group during the pandemic will compete in the TCS New York City Marathon.

The trio developed the habit in September 2021 at Concord’s PS 9.

“It was the safest thing that you could do and got us out of our house,” said speech therapist Gina-Marie Principe, 35, the only one who had high school running experience. “We just found it was amazing for our mental health.”

The trio made the difficult 26.2-mile decision in January.

According to Principe, it really did seem like a dream. However, they finally reached weekly mileage of up to 35 miles.

On November 6, Principe will be joined by first-grade teacher Deni Marie Crowley, 34, and third-grade teacher Amanda Buatti, 39, who both discussed their roles in the training process.

Gina is the driving force. Deni is the one who carries it out, and I was the one who read the literature about the strategy we ought to use, according to the Great Kills mother of two.

Gina Marie Principe

Staten Island teachers Gina-Marie Principe, Amanda Buatti and Deni Marie Crowley will be running in the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

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“They told me they want more hills and I added a lot more hills … and after that day, they did not want to speak to me,” joked Crowley, of Pleasant Plains.

Principe, a Prince’s Bay resident, sends inspirational messages at the crack of dawn.

“The first text can go out — I’ve had to stop myself — at like 5:30 am,” she said.

The women are running for Michael’s Cause, which benefits Michael Capolongo, a 16-year-old junior from Tottenville High School with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder.

Running became a mission for the educators.

Amanda Buatti

“We’ve all ran at 4:30 in the morning, at night on the treadmill,” said Principe, who has a 7-year-old son. “I’ve ran with my son on the stoop and I just go back and forth.”

They even train during lunchtime — with their students waving to them from the playground.

“I have a student that asks me all the time, ‘How many more days left until the marathon?’” said Principe, who printed out the marathon’s course — along with pictures of her students running — which she incorporates into her lessons.

“As they achieve progress … they move throughout the course,” she explained.

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The threesome hopes their determination sets an example for the little learners, who made the women homemade beaded and loom bracelets to wear during the race.

“We’re showing them to persevere through the tough times,” said Crowley, who has lost 80 pounds during her pandemic regimen. “When I come in tired, they’re like, ‘Did you run long?’”

Their goal now, beyond finishing the marathon within five hours, is to stay together during the race.

“We’re going to try really hard to run as long as we possibly can together … if one of us is going to hit the wall, the other ones will be able to pull them through,” said Buatti.

 

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