Rachel Surace only is 13 years old, but she already knows what she likes and what’s important. She has a passion for running, but she’s equally dedicated to helping others and volunteering whenever she can. She says it’s fun, and it makes a difference for someone else.
My sources tell me you like to run. How did you start running and why do you do it?
I wanted to start running after watching my mom run in several races including the 15K Boilermaker race. I began with the kids run for the Boilermaker, which I did with her at the age of 4.
Do you think you’re ready for the Boilermaker?
Yes, I think I am ready. I continue to train and have been increasing my miles. I also have my track and cross-country coaches guiding me on how to prepare myself for the race and they continue to encourage me to do better.
You run cross-country and track. Is there one you like better?
I love cross-country for the adventure, and that sometimes I get really muddy in the process.
While running track, the race is over in a short period of time. What’s on your mind when you compete?
I think about going to Hoopla after to celebrate, and I try and think of a good song to help motivate me through the race.
When you run cross-country, you have a lot of time to think. What’s on your mind then?
When running cross-country my thoughts depend on the course because I usually try and think about what is coming next depending on the course. Some courses have creeks we run through others have big hills to climb.
In addition to running, you like to volunteer. You even earned a Catholic Charities award for volunteering at United Tenants in Albany. What did you do there and what was that like?
My aunt Erin works for United Tenants in Albany, and when I stayed with her last February and again over the summer she asked if I would like to come and learn about where she works, and I am glad I did because I really enjoyed learning about how she helps people in need. I helped them paint their office space, I answered phones and helped input data into their computer database.
Why do you like volunteering and how do you feel while you’re doing it and after you’ve done it?
I think it’s fun to volunteer because I like to help others and makes me feel good about myself while helping people in need.
You also were a volunteer on the Polar Express in November and December as an elf. Why did you do that and what was that experience like?
Mrs. Gray, my Faith Formation teacher, gave me the opportunity to be an elf for the Adirondack Railroad. I am glad I decided to do it because it was fun and I got to see all the little children smile and laugh.
You have a big sister. Do you guys get along?
Most of the time we do get along and have fun together. We have a lot in common. We use to dance on the same dance team and we both run cross-country.
Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament has been your home away from home since you were born. You now volunteer at pizza fritta sales and are an altar server. What does this parish mean to you?
This parish is like family, probably because my entire family is always there showing me what’s important. I still have a lot to learn, but I am still having fun doing it with my family.
Your family members have been a big part of the parish for decades. Do you feel an obligation to continue the family tradition or do you do it because you like it?
Both, because of how important the church and the parish is to my family.
Do you ever talk to your friends about your faith? If so, what do you tell them?
I talk to some of my friends, who are also Catholic. We talk about the things we do in our Faith Formation class and how our courses are done differently.
What do you hope the future holds for you?
Not sure, but for now to continue running and trying become a better runner and maybe someday become a vet.
If you can describe yourself in one phrase, what would it be?
A good friend to others.
Family: Father Steve, mother Gina, sister Emily and dog Sadie.
School: Eighth grade at Whitesboro Middle School.
Favorite movie: “Pitch Perfect.”
Favorite TV shows: “America Ninja Warrior” and “The Voice.”
Favorite book: “You Have Seven Messages” by Stewart Lewis.
Things you like to do in your spare time: Run, being with friends/family, swimming and other water activities at our camp in the summer.