Stephanie McGinley is a selfless athlete whose passion for running is matched only by her commitment to those less fortunate. As a Legacy of Hope sponsored athlete for the last two years, the lives her determination, compassion, and athleticism have touched are innumerable. If you get the opportunity to run with Stephanie you’ll appreciate both her wit and her encouragement, but don’t let her kind and humble demeanor fool you into thinking she isn’t fast and competitive. Recently dubbed the silent assassin by Swagga House Run Club co-founder Josh Perez, Stephanie is a talented runner with a huge heart who we are proud to have represent Legacy of Hope.
1. What is something about yourself that most people would not know?
- Once I tie my sneakers, I never untie them. They become slip-on sneakers indefinitely.
- I ran cross country my senior year of high school, so they had enough people for a team. I came in dead last every race, which is funny now that I run so much.
- I worked at Sesame Place in high school. It was great character building.
- I love tortilla chips and would eat chips and dip for every meal if it was acceptable.
2. What do you do for a living?
I’m a program manager for Comcast Business’ Customer and Digital Experience team. I collaborate with various groups to manage projects focusing on improving the customer experience and educational process across our website. It can be anything from merchandising what products a customer can buy to supporting marketing campaigns or the development of new product education pages.
It is very fast-paced, and the work and projects are constantly changing, which makes it fun. I also work with a fantastic group of people who support each other and have fun doing what we do. I’m grateful that I get to do what I love every day and have been able to make a career in the digital space.
3. Tell us about your family?
They’re the best! They’re incredibly supportive of everything I do, especially if it is for Legacy of Hope. I wouldn’t have been able to support Legacy of Hope in the manner I have if it wasn’t for them. Multiple family members have had cancer in some capacity, so they understand the importance of what we are doing through the Love Run and Philly Runs Free.
I like to think my parents instilled in me the value of relationships and doing what you can to help others. They worked extremely hard and sacrificed a lot for my brother and me. I know I was the child that drove them nuts growing up, but I know I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for them and the safe and loving home they gave us.
I have an older brother (a year and a half older) who has accomplished so much and has a passion for helping others and giving back. Plus, he brought the world’s best sister-in-law into our family when he met his wife and my two adorable nieces, who I’m obsessed with.
4. How long have you been running, and what would you tell someone who is nervous to start running, or sign up for the Love Run?
I’ve been running since 2010; I had run Broad Street and, after signing up for the Philly Marathon on a whim. I had played lacrosse for a bit in college, but after I stopped, I got a bit lazy. I was looking for something to do that would challenge me and help me get back in shape. I didn’t know what I was doing, but it gave me something to work towards. Once I was at the race, I was hooked and loved everything about the environment, the people, and its benefits in all aspects of my life.
It seems scary, especially if you’re new to running, but if someone is nervous to start running or sign up for the Love Run, I’d say just go for it! The best part about running is that anyone can do it, and we all have been in the place where we are beginners. Even later, we might end up being beginners again at some point because life happens. But you’ll have the bonus of knowing you’ll get a group of new friends to help support you along your way! And there’s always something to learn from running, so it’s a fantastic new life experience you’ll have!
5. Why do you support Legacy of Hope? What is your backstory? Do you have a connection to cancer?
My mom and many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins have had some form of cancer. Candidly, I was going through a rough patch in life for other reasons a few years ago. I had still been running, but I didn’t have a clear direction because of what else I had going on. I knew I needed to do something, and I wanted to get involved in something that would give back to my community. I thought about my cousin Sara and how she was always such a loving and kind person. She did so much for the people around her, including complete strangers, because it was the right thing to do. She got her angel wings when she was only 36 in October of 2015 after a courageous 4-year battle with Multiple Myeloma.
I think it happened to be a moment of serendipity. When I registered for the Love Run, there was an option to raise money for Legacy of Hope. So, I signed up to do that. I talked to Mike and then ran PHL24 that year and each year since in memory of Sara.
I continue to support Legacy of Hope because I believe in its mission. The process and battle with cancer are always hard in any capacity. I think Legacy of Hope is right; no person or family should have to worry about where their next meal might come from or about their home, utilities, et cetera while fighting cancer.
We all receive some form of help along our adventure through life. No matter what it looks like, I think it is important that if we have the means to help someone else, we should.
6. Outside of running, what do you like to do?
I love to spend as much time outside as I can; I’m that annoying friend who always makes everyone sit outside and walk everywhere because ‘it’s not that far.’ Philly is great for that reason; almost everything is walkable and makes it easy to check out all the city offers. I also love photography, doodling, going on hikes, and beach days in the summer. And seeing friends and family, of course!
Why should people register for the Love Run and be part of Philly Runs Free?
Folks should register for the Love Run and Philly Runs Free because it is an easy way to get involved with Legacy of Hope and support the families in need in Philadelphia. You will be directly impacting the life of a cancer patient in Philadelphia and helping Legacy of Hope advance its mission in several ways. If you’re new to running, the group runs are also a great way to meet other runners and have a plan to get to the finish. Plus, you’ll get an incredible group of new friends that will support you along the way.