Housing Assistance CEO Alisa Magnotta and Chief Development Officer Anne Van Vleck running the Falmouth Road Race in August 2019.

Housing Assistance CEO Alisa Magnotta (left) and Chief Development Officer Anne Van Vleck at this year’s Falmouth Road Race.

Running is not my thing. And as an extremely busy CEO and single parent, I have an excuse not to run. But last year, our Falmouth Road Race team came back from the event so inspired by it, I couldn’t help but volunteer. I almost immediately regretted it, but the ten individuals who ran for Housing Assistance this year are the fiercest, most determined I have seen. I was in awe of my teammates throughout the training. They kept me going. The day of the event could not have been more inspiring –tens of thousands of people who came out to run a difficult course on a very hot day to help others less fortunate than themselves.

Being there reminded me how important it is to gather together with our community, especially in this age of instant feedback on social media. People crave real in-person togetherness, and a reason to gather and show that they care. The Falmouth Road Race is a challenging race that attracts professional runners. I was not prepared for how challenging the training and the course itself would be for me.

I found there were so many obstacles or excuses to quit along the way. Making time to train every week could have stopped me. The drive to Falmouth from the lower Cape in summer traffic could have stopped me. The day was hot. And the race was about twice the distance I was comfortable running. At times, I had to dig deep to keep myself going. And I did that by remembering the tenacity of my team of runners, my colleagues at work, and especially our clients.

Our clients never expected to be at the place in life that brings them through our doors asking for help. They don’t have a choice. They need to be strong and keep going. So there was no way I could stop, just because I was tired. I had to keep going for my team, my colleagues and the people we serve.

We never know when we are going to be able to inspire or help someone else. At one point in the race, after about three miles when the sun really started beating down on us, my thoughts turned really negative. I thought about quitting. At just that moment, a man on the sidelines yelled “Keep your thoughts positive!” I am so thankful not only for the other runners, but for all the spectators who kept cheering us on. That day that spectator helped me. And the people who came out from their houses to spray water on us literally saved me from heat stroke.

The challenges made me grateful every step of the way that I am in a position to give back to my community. I am so grateful to lead this amazing organization. I am inspired by my colleagues who go the extra mile every day to help our clients. And I am most proud of our clients who have the courage to ask for help and the grit and resilience to do whatever it takes to get themselves back into stable housing after a crisis. There was no way I could stop!

The Falmouth Road race makes a huge impact for all the charities that receive funds, but it also makes a huge impact for everyone involved: the runners, the spectators, the event volunteers and staff, the whole community that gets to gather and say, ‘This is who we are. We’re a community. And we help each other.’ Together, we can do anything.

Thank you for your support and for all you do!

Read more about this year’s Falmouth Road Race Team, including our top fundraisers (click here) Meredith Fry of Chatham and Robin Thayer of Orleans. Our own Caitlin Sullivan was one of several Housing Assistance staffers to join Alisa Magnotta at the road race. You can read more about her experience here