ST. PETE — While many of us will be cheering for Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski Thursday night, there is one St. Pete fan who can actually say it’s Gronkowski who will be cheering for her.
Maise Lauster was picked to run the Boston Marathon on behalf of his charity, Gronk Nation Youth Foundation.
Lauster never thought about training for a marathon, until she found herself living through a pandemic while recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
“Running was a good way for me to kind of cope with being a newly sober person,” said Lauster.
Lauster went from a couple of laps around the neighborhood to competing in 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons.
“I have been able to feel like I’ve been able to break down barriers around myself of things I never thought I could do,” said Lauster.
Lauster, being a Bucs’ fan, came across the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation, which helps kids in need stay actively involved in school and sports. Every year people run the Boston Marathon raising money on the charity’s behalf.
“You know I’m someone who has needed help before so I think it’s really great to be able to get out in the community and help others,” said Lauster.
She was the first Florida runner chosen to represent the charity, which came with an unexpected surprise from none other than Gronk himself.
“He was shouting my name out on Instagram and I just fell to the floor,” said Lauster.
“Maise, our first Florida runner, you are pretty close to my favorite pirate ship, the one at Raymond James stadium, arrr, pumped to have you join the team and maybe I’ll see you in Florida thanks for running with us,” said Gronkowski in the video.
Lauster said she doesn’t want to let Gronk down, her goal is to raise $10,000. For more information on how to donate click here.
“I have overcome obstacles, things that seem impossible, and I know that basically, anything is possible so I’m just doing the best I can to raise the money,” said Lauster.
The Boston Marathon is scheduled for October 11.