Q&A: Northeastern student Vincent Castronuovo awarded “Fastest Bostonian” title after Boston Marathon run


Vincent Castronuovo runs down the final stretch of the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon course. Castronuovo was the fastest male Boston resident to finish the race, and recieved an inaugural award from Mayor Michelle Wu. Photo courtesy Vincent Castronuovo

Pavithra Rajesh, news staff

Finishing the legendary Boston Marathon is remarkable, regardless of your speed — you automatically receive bragging rights for the rest of your life. However, not only does this Northeastern University graduate student get to boast about finishing the marathon (twice), but this year, he was championed as the inaugural “Fastest Bostonian” man in the race.

Vincent Castronuovo, who lives in the South End, has been running for almost 10 years, having held the positions of president and distance captain of Northeastern’s club running team for four years. Castronuovo is a PlusOne student — In December 2022, he completed his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and he will be receiving his master’s in mechanics and design this May.

A week before the 127th marathon, Mayor Michelle Wu and the Boston Athletic Association announced the first-ever awards for the Fastest Bostonian, given to one man and one woman with the quickest finish times. Along with those two recipients, Boston also recognized the first non-binary Bostonian to compete in the marathon.

Castronuovo finished this year’s race with a 2:25:56 time, two minutes faster than his time last year, which clocked in at 2:27:47. He said he was initially disappointed in the result — he wanted to crack 2:24 — but looking back, he remains proud of his accomplishment.

The News sat down with Castronuovo to discuss his motivation for running, the marathon and his new title.

The following  interview has been edited for length and clarity.

HN: Both years, how did you make the decision to compete in the Boston Marathon?

Castronuovo: Once I got to Northeastern, I was on the club team and I knew I wanted to move up to longer distances. So, I started with half marathons. But since freshman year, it’s been a goal to run the Boston Marathon before I graduate because I just always thought it’d be so cool to do that while still in school here. I don’t know where I’ll be after I graduate. So, if I’m not here, it wouldn’t be as special as it was the past two years.

I decided to run the Newport Marathon in spring 2021. I ran a 2:36 to qualify. The qualifying time for the Boston Marathon is 3 hours. That was very much the whole decision process. I ran it last year and it is the most fun race that I’ve ever done. Last year was pretty great weather, so there were literally spectators lined for all 26 miles. It was crazy. This year, it was a little rainy, so a few less spectators, but still insane. The most fun I’ve ever had in a race.

HN: This year, how did you find out you were the fastest Bostonian man in the marathon?

Castronuovo: I didn’t even really know what I would need to run to win Fastest Bostonian because I didn’t know who the other Bostonians were, I didn’t know where they were in the race. Once I finished, I was slightly disappointed when I saw the time but, all in all, I’m still so proud of it.

I waited for my teammates, then I went home and showered because I was so cold. I had my roommates and some friends over after the race and I was sitting around the table and talking to them. Then, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize and my friend was like, “What if it’s the mayor?” as a joke. They had heard about the award and they were like, “What if you’re the fastest one?” I was like, “Okay, I don’t know about that.” But then the call was from Michelle Wu’s office, and I was like, “Oh, this is crazy.” We were all just like, “What the hell?” Nobody expected that. That was really funny. They recorded my reaction too and I was just freaking out.

Whoever works there informed me that I was the fastest Bostonian [man] and told me about the whole new award. I had read about it but I wasn’t really thinking about it too much because I didn’t really expect that. It was shocking to get the phone call. A couple of hours after that, Michelle Wu herself called me and she congratulated me. There’s going to be a party at some point in the next week or two, where they’re going to invite all the Boston runners and present the awards.

HN: How do you feel that you’re the first man to receive the Fastest Bostonian award?

Castronuovo: It feels really special. I wasn’t really expecting this at all. Telling my other friends, my parents, my sister — they were all just like, “That’s crazy!” because none of them knew that the award was a thing either. They were just like, “Just to get to talk to Michelle Wu at all is crazy, but then also to have the award is really cool.” Now, I have a title to defend. I want to be the fastest Bostonian next year, if I still live here. Now, I’ve got to get it again.

HN: Looking back at the marathon, was there a standout moment for you?

Castronuovo: Around mile 16 to 21 — that’s where the Newton Hills are — that’s notoriously the hardest part of the course. It’s the make or break of the race. For me, getting to that point has been comforting in a way, even though I know it’s the hardest part of the race. It feels special going up those hills and getting through that and feeling still capable of running at all. That’s the part of the race where I always feel confident that I will be able to finish.

HN: What’s next for you in your running journey?

Castronuovo: I’m graduating this May, so I don’t know exactly where I’ll be living. But I’m thinking I want to run a marathon in California at the end of the year, there’s one that’s really fast that I’ve heard of other people running. It’s a lot easier of a course than Boston so hopefully I’ll get a fast time there. I think I do want to run Boston again next year, regardless of where I’m living because I love it so much and I feel like I finished this race just hungrier for more of it.

Along with Castronuovo, 14 other Northeastern Club Running students participated in and finished the Boston Marathon this year.

Matt Petrocelli (BS in Environmental Engineering ‘23) – 2:31:05

Nick Ferretti (BS in Mechanical Engineering ‘24) – 2:31:24

Alex McDonnell (BS in Mechanical Engineering ‘23) – 2:34:27

Jonah Spector (PhD in Physics) – 2:34:45

Alex Knueppel (BS in Economics ‘23) – 2:37:57

Anthony Cusato (BS/MS in Mechanical Engineering ‘23) – 2:41:27

Michael Andrecyk (BS/MS in Bioengineering ‘23) – 2:54:43

David DePice (BS in Chemistry ‘24) – 2:54:43

Sean Suleski (BS in Mechanical Engineering ‘25) – 3:14:28

Rose McDonnell (BS in Behavioral Neuroscience ‘23) – 3:14:53

Caroline Meehan (BS in Mechanical Engineering ‘24) – 3:16:39

Tori Young (BS Business Administration ‘24) – 3:20:14

Juliette Stubbs (BA Sociology and International Affairs ‘24) – 3:22:46

Kathryn McCarthy (BS in Math and Biology ‘24) – 3:26:42