Is that really Sam Fazioli?
If any of his former Salem High baseball teammates check out Fazioli Monday running at the Boston Marathon, they’ll probably have that reaction.
And who could blame them? Just four years ago, Fazioli was a burly 5-foot-7, 180-pound first baseman not exactly known for his speed. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
”I was one of the slowest on the team, maybe the slowest,” said the 22-year-old Fazioli, a junior at Northeastern University. “I always wished I was faster. Now I am.”
In fact, in what is truly a remarkable transformation, Fazioli will line up April 21 as a member of the Whirlaway Racing Team as the likely fastest local marathoner in the field.
A veteran of three marathons, Fazioli ran an impressive 2:38 at Boston last year and he’s aiming to break 2:35 this year — this from a guy who just started running in the last few years.
”It’s incredible how much he’s improved already and I think he’s got a lot more potential,” said Whirlaway coach Dave Kazanjian. “I’m really excited to see how good he’ll become. We’re happy to have him on our team.”
Fazioli’s rapid rise began almost as a necessity.
Back at Salem as a junior, after a pair of seizures, Fazioli was diagnosed with epilepsy. After taking medication to control the condition, he began gaining weight as a side effect.
To combat the added weight gain, and because it was suggested that exercise could be good for his brain and to prevent seizures, Fazioli began to run.
When Fazioli got to Northeastern, particularly with the realization that his baseball career was pretty much over, he increased his mileage and got faster.
He also gradually became more interested in racing and decided that he’d strive to run the Boston Marathon.