Boston Bound: DICK'S Sporting Goods Surprises Three Deserving Runners With Entry Bibs for the Boston Marathon

Written by Hilary Totin
Apr 9, 2024 11:00 AM ET

Originally published on DICK'S Sporting Goods Sideline Report

26.2 miles of beautiful tradition. The Boston Marathon is the oldest, and arguably the most prestigious, annual marathon in the world. Earning a Boston qualifying time is a feat many amateur runners dedicate months or even years to; however, a qualifying time is not a guaranteed entry into the historic race.

If there are more qualified applicants than the designated field size, the Boston Athletics Association (B.A.A.) sets a cutoff time. For this year’s 128th running of the Boston Marathon, presented by Bank of America, the cutoff time was 5 minutes, 29 seconds (5:29) faster than the qualifying standards, which unfortunately resulted in more than 11,000 runners being turned away. But DICK’S Sporting Goods jumped in to put three of them on the course.

DICK’S worked with its partner, the B.A.A., to identify three deserving athletes from the Boston area who have qualified but never run in the Boston Marathon and offer them race bibs, giving them the opportunity to achieve their long sought-after goal.

“These amazing runners are such great examples of our belief that sports have the power to change lives,” said Vice President of Creative, Sponsorships & Entertainment at DICK’S Sporting Goods Mark Rooks. “Whether as a way to connect to the community, a mechanism for healing or a self-care practice, running has shaped these athletes into who they are today,” Rooks said.

DICK’S teamed up with Front Office Sports to chronicle John Neusch, Carly Curcuru, and CJ Reuland’s road to the Boston Marathon, including the moment they each learned they’d be running on April 15!

Read on to learn more about each of their journeys to Boston and what getting the chance to run in the race means to them.


Inspired by his father, an avid runner, John Neusch joined his high school’s cross country team. He ran his last race in 1987, and 28 years went by before Neusch raced again. “Life got busy,” Neusch said. “With college, work and kids, I put running off to the side.”

As his sons grew older and he retired from teaching high school history and coaching after-school sports, Neusch found time to ease back into racing. He ran his first 10K in 2016. After finishing a few half marathons, Neusch’s brother encouraged him to try to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Neusch decided to take on the challenge. He ran his first marathon in 2017 but didn’t qualify. “Since then, it’s been my quest.”

Over the past eight years, Neusch qualified for Boston four times. He missed the cutoff each time, most recently by 18 seconds. When B.A.A. officials learned about DICK’S Boston Bound initiative, they recommended Neusch for his years of dedication and ambition. In February, DICK’S told Neusch that this April 15, he would be at the starting line in Hopkinton.

“I was shocked,” Neusch said. “I still can’t believe that this eight-year quest is actually coming to fruition.”

Neusch said he hopes to finish the race in 3:35 as his fiancé, sons, brother and former coworkers cheer him on along the course. More than anything, Neusch said he wants to savor the Boston Marathon experience. “Everyone I’ve talked to who finished the race said it’s more amazing than they thought it could be because of all the excitement,” said Neusch. “I want to take it all in.”


As a young kid, Carly Curcuru tried her hand at several sports but admits she never thrived in any of them. That was until she discovered cross country. “I fell in love with it immediately,” Curcuru said.

Curcuru ran cross country throughout middle and high school and continued to run in her first semester at Tufts University, where she was named Rookie of the Year. “I was stoked about it,” Curcuru said. “I saw exponential progress for me at Tufts.”

All that changed when she suffered a significant injury while home for winter break. “I had tendonitis in both my knees and a calf strain,” Curcuru said, “and I just couldn’t shake it.”

Curcuru fell back into a dangerous eating disorder that she battled as a teenager, which led her to leave school and quit running. She was on bed rest with a heart rate so low that she couldn’t engage in any physical activity.

For a long time, Curcuru felt contempt towards running and saw it as the reason she had to leave school. But as she recovered, her passion for the sport returned.

“I realized I was looking at running the wrong way,” Curcuru said. “It’s such a privilege to be able to move my body.”

After running a few local half marathons, Curcuru set her sights on the Boston Marathon. “It’s always been on my bucket list,” she said.

She qualified for Boston with a 3:27 but missed the cutoff. Devastated, Curcuru started training for another Boston qualifier. That devastation melted away when DICK’S informed her she would be running Boston this year after all.

Even though she’ll be running 26.2 sooner than she expected, Curcuru said she’s ready to be a part of the iconic race. “I’m going to go out there and have a blast with it.”


CJ Reuland’s love of running started 20 years ago. Her dad took her to run a 5K in their Baltimore, Maryland neighborhood. “It was really rainy, and he didn’t have high expectations,” Reuland said, “but I was stubborn and ran the whole thing from start to finish.”

Reuland’s passion for running continued through school. During her sophomore year of college in 2016, she ran her first marathon. To her surprise, she came very close to qualifying for the Boston Marathon. “That’s when I decided to make Boston my goal,” she said.

As life would have it, Reuland graduated from medical school and moved to Boston to begin her general surgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. Despite working 12-hour days at the hospital, Reuland always finds time to run. “Running keeps me sane,” she said.

Since 2018, Reuland has qualified for the Boston Marathon three times but has always missed the final cutoff, including this year. “I wasn’t really surprised,” Reuland said, “There was a record-breaking number of entrants.”

But Reuland was surprised to learn from DICK’S Sporting Goods that she would be getting a bib to run Boston this year. “In the running community, the Boston Marathon is legendary,” Reuland said. “I can’t believe I’m finally going to get to run it.”

She has two goals for the marathon: to soak in the experience and to finish in 3:30 to qualify for next year’s race. Reuland hopes the atmosphere on April 15 will help give her an extra boost.

“The race is epic because of the energy,” Reuland said, “and the way the entire city comes together to celebrate it.”

Learn more about DICK’S Sporting Goods’ partnership with the B.A.A. here.

About DICK'S Sporting Goods

DICK’S Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) creates confidence and excitement by inspiring, supporting and personally equipping all athletes to achieve their dreams. Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Pittsburgh, the leading omnichannel retailer serves athletes and outdoor enthusiasts in more than 850 DICK’S Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy, Public Lands, Going Going Gone! and Warehouse Sale stores, online, and through the DICK’S mobile app. DICK’S also owns and operates DICK’S House of Sport and Golf Galaxy Performance Center, as well as GameChanger, a youth sports mobile platform for live streaming, scheduling, communications and scorekeeping.

Driven by its belief that sports have the power to change lives, DICK’S has been a longtime champion for youth sports and, together with its Foundation, has donated millions of dollars to support under-resourced teams and athletes through the Sports Matter program and other community-based initiatives. Additional information about DICK’S business, corporate giving, sustainability efforts and employment opportunities can be found on,,, and on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and X.

About the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.)

Established in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. The B.A.A. manages the Boston Marathon, and supports comprehensive charity, youth, and year-round programming. The 128th Boston Marathon presented by Bank of America is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 15, 2024. The Boston Marathon is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, along with international marathons in Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. For more information on the B.A.A., please visit

About Front Office Sports 

Front Office Sports is the leading multi-platform media and news organization covering the business of sports, boasting an audience that every month delivers more than 175 million social impressions, 35 million newsletter opens, 10 million video views, and two million page views. In addition, with over 15 distribution partners, FOS content appears on screens in more than 50,000 buildings and venues across North America. Front Office Sports was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in 2021, Inc.5000 in 2023 recognizing the fastest-growing private companies in America, and AdWeek’s Hottest in Sports in 2022 and 2024.