News: Featured Stories

April 14, 2015

UMass Boston staffers running Boston Marathon in Krystle Campbell’s memory


  • Boston
UMass Boston staff will run in honor of 2013 marathon bombing victim and former student Krystle Campbell.

For a second year in a row, a team of local business executives, UMass students, graduates, and staff will run the Boston Marathon in honor of former UMass Boston student Krystle Campbell, a victim of the 2013 marathon bombings.

The nine-member 2015 UMass Marathon team, “Running for a Reason: Krystle’s Legacy,” includes UMass Boston staff members Casey Gavin McDonagh and Robyn Dangora, and student Rhonda Hodge.

McDonagh '12, a Boston resident, is director of development in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and received an MBA from UMass Boston. Dangora, an Abington resident, is director of Alumni Relations for the university and is a graduate student in the MBA program.

The runners raise funds for the Krystle Campbell Scholarship Fund. Scholarships are presented to students pursuing business degrees. For more information about the fund, visit

Visit Casey Gavin McDonagh's fundraising page. Visit Robyn Dangora's fundraising page.

The Krystle Campbell Scholarship was started by UMass Trustee Richard Campbell and his wife Barbara. Campbell is not related to Krystle, but like her, grew up in Medford and attended UMass Boston.

UMass Boston Today caught up with McDonagh and Dangora, and asked why they chose to run, and how they are getting ready for the 26.3-mile run on Monday.

A marathon is a huge undertaking. What made you want to run the marathon this year and honor Krystle Campbell?

Dangora: I love to run and I’m from Massachusetts, so naturally this is a lifelong goal of mine. In 2013 we all came together as one united city and my resolve to run was strengthened even more. When I started working here that Fall I realized that one of the victims was an alumna, and was humbled that the university was doing so much to honor her memory. By participating on this team, I have an ever-increasing kinship with Krystle and hope that on Marathon Monday, I can make her proud.

McDonagh: Running the Boston Marathon has always been one of my life-long goals. I grew up attending the Boston Marathon with family and continued to attend after college with my friends. We looked forward to celebrating the unofficial start of spring together each year on Boylston Street and I always dreamed that I would cross the finish line someday.  As a life-long Boston-area resident, Marathon Monday has always held a special place in my heart and the day has only become more meaningful since the bombings in 2013.  I feel privileged to have the opportunity to complete the Boston Marathon in Krystle’s honor.

Is this your first marathon?

McDonagh: Yes.

Dangora: I ran the Boston Marathon in 2010 as a “bandit” (unofficial runner) with a number of my undergrad classmates and have always promised myself that I would run it legitimately one day, with a number, for a cause, and earn a medal.

How are you training for the marathon? 

Dangora: I’ve always loved going out for long runs on the weekend. Typically a winter like this would keep me indoors on the elliptical for the rest of the week, but with this opportunity I’ve gotten out on the roads as much as possible, in my gloves, hats, and scarves, seeking sidewalks wherever I could find them.

McDonagh: By being flexible! I tried to follow a training plan that I had found online but the snowstorms and freezing temperatures shifted my training schedule around weekly.  I was forced to climb through countless snowbanks and modify my running routes based on the road conditions. Sometimes I would just run back and forth on the same road that I knew had been plowed.  Needless to say, many miles were also spent on the treadmill watching movies on my iPad.

What would surprise people the most about preparing for a marathon?

McDonagh: The time and effort you spend on picking out the right clothing to run in. I spent a lot of time -- especially in the beginning -- trying out different socks and shoes, and experimenting with the right amount of layering. It's amazing how one single piece of clothing can turn a great run into an awful run, if that piece of clothing starts to chafe or isn’t warm or supportive enough. I am happy to say I think I have figured out my outfit for Marathon Monday unless we get another 90 degree day like the Marathon in 2012!

Dangora: How well your body recovers. My ankles get sore and my knees get achy, but as long as you take the time to build up your miles and don’t overdo it, anyone can run a marathon!