WILMINGTON — For most women, once they start a family, finding time to run is pretty difficult. That has been the case for Ally D'Amico, but through the limited training, the 37-year-old was the top female finisher from town during Wilmington’s 15th annual Chamber of Commerce Half Marathon Road Race held Sunday morning.
But if you ask her, she really wasn't the top Wilmington finisher.
"When I started off, my goal was to run eight minute miles," she said. "Then after the first mile, my friend Simonetta Piergentilli caught up to me and asked what I was doing and I told her that I wanted to run under eight minute (miles). She was training for another marathon and said 'OK, I'll stay with you'. She is a lot faster than me. She was just like an angel and she helped me through it."
D'Amico was able to finish averaging just under her goal of eight minute miles at 7:56, and came across the finish line 49th overall with her time of 1:44.02.1.
"I thought the race was awesome," she said. "It was a great race and it was well run. I run with the (Wilmington Running Group) Sole Sisters and found out about the race, figured the price was right, it was right down the street, so why not? It was such a great time and such a beautiful day."
D'Amico grew up in Billerica and was a three-sport athlete at BMHS, participating in cross-country, indoor track and lacrosse. Among her highlights from cross-country included finishing 49th at the Eastern Mass Championship Meet. She mostly ran the mile in indoor track but said mostly during her junior and senior years, she suffered through multiple stress fractures, so she concentrated on lacrosse a bit more.
After graduating from high school in 2000, she went on to play four years of lacrosse at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire and earned a degree in nursing. She has since earned her Master's Degree and works as a Nurse Practitioner in Lowell. Ally and her husband John were living in Lowell up until 2017 when they moved to Wilmington and they are proud parents of four-year old twin girls Alexa and Zoey, as well as Luke, who will turn two in December.
"When we moved here, I immediately wanted to find a running group and was able to join the Sole Sisters," she said. "Everyone in the group is so great, just so great. It's an all female group and you have your super fast runners, your slow runners, your walkers, your in between runners, where I fit in, and everyone is just so supportive. You also have the crazy people like me who workout at 4:30 and 5 am."
Prior to having kids, D'Amico completed six marathons, including four in Boston, one in Cape Cod and one in Chicago. She last participated in Boston in 2013 and '14, the first time obviously was when the Bombings occurred.
"I had finished the race (with a 2:23 time) and I was over with some friends at a bar celebrating,” she remembered. “I got a text message from a friend back home asking me if I was alright, and I texted back saying, 'yes, I'm a little sore, but I'm fine', thinking she was talking about the marathon. And as soon as I sent that text, everyone's phones went dead, we saw the television screens say that the city was in lockdown. Honestly it was just incredibly terrifying."
D'Amico's incredible time from the 2013 race and ultimate determination and pride got her back on the starting line in Boston the next year.
"That definitely motivated me," she said. "I ended up running that race injured, as I got hurt with my training, but I was still able to finish at 3:52. If what happened in 2013 didn't happen, I wouldn't have run because of the injury, but I wanted to get back there because of the circumstances from 2013. It was really important for me to go back and have that Boston Pride."
Since finishing that 2014 Boston Marathon, D’Amico has not participated in a full marathon since. She recently completed several 10K races before taking on Sunday's race.
"It's harder to find the time to train since having the kids," she said. "I would like to do another full marathon but I would have ways to go to prepare for that, but now that I know that we're done having kids, I'm slowly getting back into it."
And slowly being the top female finisher from Wilmington — or in Ally's mind, the second.