“Lightning” Edward (“Ted”) Lombardi and Nicolle “The Rocket” Renick will be running on the same team this coming Monday in the Boston Marathon.
The two reside about a five-minute run away from each other on Bedford Road.
Both will be running on the Alzheimer’s Association’s Team Memory to raise money for Alzheimer's research. Both have or have had family members with memory malfunctions.
Until they first signed up for the Run for the Memory last year, Lombardi and Renick didn’t know each other—or that they shared all that history.
Lombardi described his running nickname as “ironic.” Assistant principal at the Humanities and Leadership Development High School in Lawrence, he started to run a little over two years ago, he told Woburn Patch, to lose weight. He started by running around Horn Pond—about two miles.
His father, Edward (“Pat”) Lombardi, had been diagnosed with dementia in 2003. “Things got really bad” in 2009 and ’10, he said. “You can’t fix [Alzheimer’s]. I needed to feel I was doing something.”
“My dad was an amazing guy, a blue-collar union electrician,” he said, adding that Pat was gruff, but selfless. “[He] was never comfortable taking more than he gave.” He died this past November.
As for Pat's son, “I’m the opposite” of a marathon runner who tries to get a number to run Boston by applying to lots of teams, Ted Lombardi said. “I’m a crappy runner.”
“I don’t wake up and say, 'I’m going to run today.’ I love being done running.”
When Ted has run 12 miles in practice, with many more to go, he said he thinks of his father.
“He wouldn’t whine,” Lombardi said. “[And] God help you if you ever thanked him.”
The Rocket's Story
Renick, a graphic designer, has been running since junior high school. She holds a high school record for 3,000 meters: 11:17. She started to run seriously again about three years ago, about the same time her dad, Gary Renick, was diagnosed with a kind of early-onset dementia that affects 10 percent of patients with Alzheimer’s. He's 59.
Renick’s dad was “always a huge supporter of mine,” she told Woburn Patch. He tried to attend her track meets and basketball games and other activities, she said. Last year, he went into Boston for the Marathon.
“I’m not sure," she said, that "he grasped (that) I was doing it for him.”
She’s also running in memory of her aunt, Gladys Renick, who helped care for her dad. Gladys died this past November.
Renick and Lombardi met at a team meeting, after they got the team roster.
They don’t run together.
“She’s faster than me,” Lombardi said.
Lombardi and Renick do run with the rest of the team on Saturdays from December through this past Saturday. The team runs sections of the Marathon course. Both joined the Shamrock Running Club here.
Runners on Team Memory all have a personal connection, most a relative, who has dementia or Alzheimer’s, Renick said. The teammates share, she said, what’s going on with that part of their lives.
The day after the marathon, Lombardi will be back at his desk at school. It will be school vacation week.
“I do have to work,” he said. “But I don’t have to be mobile.”