Meet Boston Marathon Runners Maire & Shannan Callanan

By Emme Punches,
Special Olympics Massachusetts Events Coordinator


Special Olympics runs deep in the Callanan family. From an early age, both Maire and Shannan Callanan were introduced to Special Olympics through all aspects of the organization – the athletes, volunteers, and coaches.

Every Sunday when they were young, they would head down with their brother to the track in Situate to help their mother Betsy coach the local Special Olympics Massachusetts track and field team. Shannan and Maire got to observe firsthand the influence Special Olympics has on all the athletes’ lives. They saw these athletes gain confidence through all of their experiences. It touched even closer to home because for more than 10 years, they got to watch their Uncle Joe who was active Special Olympics athlete. Since then, both Maire and Shannan have decided to follow in their mother’s footsteps and coach Special Olympic track and field teams.

Through her journey with Special Olympics, Maire expressed that “It has been a wonderful experience to participate in Special Olympics Massachusetts with some of the people who are closest to me in my life and see the positive effects that the organization has had on their self-confidence as well as their interpersonal and physical skills.“

Maire and Shannan who are 5 years apart in age, have both been long time runners. Together, they set a goal of running the Boston Marathon as a family for all of the athletes they have both coached. Together, they accomplished their goal on Monday, April 17, 2017 as they crossed the finish line on Boylston Street.


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