Running for Mental Health: Samantha Roecker

by Megan James

Samantha Roecker ran her first marathon in 3:02:17 (Via Marathon, 2014) – that is talent.

Her current personal best marathon time is 2:29:59 (Marathon Project, 2020) – that is hard work.

She recently ran 2:48:02 in scrubs (Boston Marathon, 2022) and set a world record for the fastest marathon run in a nurse’s uniform, while fundraising for nurses’ mental health programs – that is passion.

Samantha has never shied away from a challenge. She worked hard through high school, college and beyond to get to where she is now, both academically and athletically. She is a nurse, working full-time while also in school to become a nurse practitioner. She runs somewhere around 100 miles per week, and is a professional-level runner without being a full-time professional runner. That is where talent, hard work, and passion meet.

Since committing to running Boston only about 2 months before race day, Samantha has raised over $50,000 that will be directly invested in the American Nurses’ Foundation’s Well-Being Initiative. As a nurse, and with many friends also working in a variety of healthcare settings, Sam is no stranger to the physical and emotional demands of working in healthcare; of course, as we know, the past two years of pandemic-era have made those demands more taxing in ways that we had never anticipated. As a fellow healthcare worker, I have seen firsthand – and experienced to some extent – the increased level of stress, fatigue, and burnout among healthcare workers.

Sam’s fundraiser really took off and has garnered much-needed media attention in multiple outlets, including written and social media, TV interviews, and podcasts.  On May 1, the start of National Nurses’ Month, the Burnt Hills Track Club held a fundraiser walk on Sam’s hometown track, to continue to propel her fundraising and awareness campaigns forward. With 75-100 people in attendance, and several others providing donations who couldn’t make it to the event, the Burnt Hills Track Club raised almost $3,000 to put toward Sam’s fundraiser.

As one of the current BH-BL track & cross country coaches, I was thrilled with the turnout that we had at this event – capped off by Samantha herself being there. I also had the privilege of running “with” her in high school (she is two years younger than I am, so I was on my way out as she was really ramping up!). Samantha and I have known each other for many years, and being able to connect with her again has been absolutely inspiring. Sam has made an effort to be at practice with us on most days this week, sharing her experiences and wisdom with the current runners, and also just being there to help them realize that hard work plus talent equals great success, but it should never be at the expense of your enjoyment of the sport or your mental health.

Samantha is a rock star in so many ways: an exceptional runner, a committed nurse, a dedicated student, and a truly generous and loving person. She deserves all of the recognition in the world for her efforts to make the healthcare system a little more supportive of those who work in it. If you would like to read more about her fundraiser and donate directly, you can visit her page here: https://givetonursing.networkforgood.com/projects/152794-samantha-roecker-marathon-fundraiser


Why this nurse ran the Boston Marathon in scrubs — and broke a world record

Samantha Roecker broke the Guinness World Records title for fastest marathon in scrubs at the Boston Marathon to raise awareness of nurses' mental health.

Burnt Hills native sets Guinness record as she raises awareness for nurses’ mental health in Boston Marathon

BURNT HILLS – Samantha Roecker, a former Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School and Providence College standout, as well as an Olympic hopeful, can now add another feather to her cap: She is the fastest person ever to run a marathon in scrubs. 


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