From the Swamp Rabbit Trail to the Boston Marathon

Emily Gettys 1

Running can take you places.

Literally and figuratively, we know it’s true.

Those miles we put on change us. And runners all over the upstate gravitate to our popular Upstate Swamp Rabbit Trail.

One of those runners is TR resident Emily Gettys.



Emily and her husband are raising their young son in TR and she works as a program coordinator.  She also serves as an ambassador with the nonprofit organization РGirls Who Hike. Together, the family loves to visit our local restaurants, shop at the Farmers Market, hike, play board games and pursue their deep affection for donuts.

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Emily moved to South Carolina more than a decade ago to attend Furman University. She fell in love with our area, like you do. Both of her brothers also attended Furman (Go Paladins!) and they all spent many hours studying over endless coffee cups at Leopard Forest and walking and running and biking on the Swamp Rabbit Trail together. In fact, as a Furman student, Emily spent many hours assisting a professor with research to help expand the trail. “My research spot was the at the light where TR Oriental is, so I spent hours in downtown TR every week researching trail use,” she said.


Emily Gettys 2


Now Emily runs on that same trail nearly every day. Sometimes she hops over to the Doodle Trail in Pickens or conquers hills at Watson’s Crossing. For trail runs, she loves the paths at Bunched Arrowhead Nature Preserve. Her first race, in fact, was the annual Swamp Rabbit 5K.

After all that running, and because of that nostalgic love for her hometown, Emily now has her running sights set on the Boston Marathon.

And that is no small goal.

You can’t just decide to run the Boston Marathon, go online and sign right up. It’s a challenging race to get into. There are two ways runners can find themselves on race day wearing a bib and pushing their own limits. One way to qualify for Boston is to finish a different marathon with a remarkably fast time. The second way is to run for a charity team. This is not as straightforward as a simple sign up either. There is list of approved charity teams and a small number of bibs that runners can apply for.

After applying for a particular charity team, runners go through an interview process with the director and then a second interview with the charity leader. There are A LOT of applicants who apply for the race this way and the competition is still pretty stiff. Of course, you still need to be an experienced runner to apply for the charity team spots too. A marathon is 26.2 miles after all and the Boston one is particularly arduous.

Once you make it through these steps, runners must commit to a specific fundraising goal that varies per team and per charity.

This process is exactly where Emily finds herself. After choosing a charity, qualifying and being selected, she is on the path to meet her fundraising goals for the April race.

“I am so thankful for my team and the leadership as they provide support, community, resources, and training plans to help their runners every step of the way,” Emily shares.


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The charity Emily is running for is the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. (You can read all about the foundation right here.) “This charity does amazing to help provide help, hope and a reason to smile for cancer patients and their families,” Emily explains. The Joe Andruzzi Foundation offers financial support to families dealing with a cancer diagnosis that often cripples a family financially. The foundation says they recognize how frequently the battle against cancer creates financial distress and how that distress adversely affects the outcome for both the patient and their family members. Their goal is to alleviate that burden so the families can focus on health and well being, not on bills and dealing with creditors.

“This is a cause close to my heart as I have had several family members and those closest to me battle cancer,” Emily shares. “And I wanted to run for a foundation that lends much needed support to families fighting this battle.”

You might see Emily out running on the trail and offer her a high five and a word of encouragement as she preps to battle the Boston Marathon this spring.


Emily Gettys 4


But there’s another way that our TR community can help Emily’s race journey from the Swamp Rabbit Trail to the Boston Marathon. And that is, of course, by donating to her fundraiser.

It won’t take long for TR to help Emily shine strong in Boston if we all just give a little. Y’all are an efficient and effective army of supporters as we’ve seen in the past and absolutely every small amount goes farther than you realize. She’s already worked hard and is already at 80% of her goal – let’s help her take that right over the top!

It’s a beautiful thing when we cheer on one another to the finish line!

Thanks for running, Emily!


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