NKOTB’s Joey McIntyre Is Running the Marathon Again

He's running for his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's.

Joey McIntyre running

Joey training in L.A. photo provided.

Last year, Joey McIntyre crossed the Boston Marathon finish line at 3:57:06. It was his first marathon ever, and he ran for his mom who suffers from Alzheimer’s. This year, he decided to run it again, not only for his mom (you can donate to the cause here), but for the city of Boston, and for himself, in order to try to close last year’s chapter and heal with the rest of the city.

McIntyre grew up in Jamaica Plain (he says that his mother still lives there) and even though a lot has changed, (“It’s crazy how much the neighborhood has changed! It was so boring growing up there!”) one thing that hasn’t changed is his thick, authentic Boston accent (sorry, Donnie).

Although he did most of his training in L.A., he did get an opportunity to fit in a long run here in the city. And unlike other celebs that are “from” Boston but have been living in L.A. and haven’t shoveled snow in more than two decades, McIntyre is refreshing in that he really knows the city.

“Boston is gorgeous. I recently did a 14-mile run in Boston, and it was a real trip to see what 14 miles was there because growing up you don’t have a sense of how far that really is. I started by the Charles,” McIntyre says in an accent that just can’t be faked. “I mean 14-miles took me up around the Charles, down there by the Muddy River, by the Museum of Fine Arts, then around Jamaica Pond, to Forest Hills, and then back up Washington Street near Ruggles, all of that by the Orange Line, then back through the Back Bay and back up to the Charles again. Oh, I said ‘Charles’ the ‘right’ way, I sometimes have to correct my accent but this is Boston magazine so I don’t have to.”

No, Joey, you certainly don’t.

Below, our Q&A, where McIntyre talks about the bombings, training for 26.2, his love of Boston sports, and exactly where he’ll be carbo loading:

Is running again something that was always planned, or did you decide to run again after the events of last year?

I think I would have run it anyways. I wasn’t sure my schedule was going to permit me to actually do it, you know with the training and actually being able to be there. But even if I wasn’t running, I’d go there for the day, just to be a part of it. Aside from what happened, it’s just a beautiful experience. I mean, being able to train for a marathon is really a privilege, especially when you have three kids and a career. I really give a lot of credit to the people who have to work 9 to 5 jobs, or have two jobs, and children, and try to fit in training for a marathon.

Last year was your first marathon. What was your favorite part?

When you start running from Hopkinton and you see the beautiful countryside, I mean I lived in Boston all my life but I never went out to the countryside. It’s just gorgeous out there. Also, all of the support you feel when running is the best part. The running community is such a great community to be with, and you know I had tears in my eyes already just running, you really feel the love.

You were raising money for your mom. What was that experience like?

I was raising money for Alzheimer’s in honor of my mom, and then when I got my medal after I crossed, it was right in front of the Hancock building that my mother worked at for so many years, so you know there’s tons of history there. And then of course all hell breaks loose and that’s a whole other story.

Where were you when the bombs went off?

After I finished, I was sitting on a bench in Copley Square, and I couldn’t believe at the end of 26 miles there wasn’t any chocolate milk at the end of the race, so this guy who works for the B.A.A. was like ‘I’ll get it for you’ and he ran across the street and got me chocolate milk. Just as he came back with it–and I told him not to bother–but right then is when the bombs went off. Everyone was in shock. But yea, I was right there near Copley.

Tell me a little bit about your training, you said last year that you were doing long runs once a week starting with about 10 miles working to 20 and then tapering off? Do you have a similar training program this year?

I have an awesome trainer who laid it out for me last year, everyday on a calendar, and I followed that again this year. Because of my schedule last year the longest run I did was 20 miles, but now I’m going to do 22. So I did 20 on Monday and now I’m going to do 22 this coming Monday and then start tapering. But yeah, I’m doing cross training and smaller runs throughout the week and then that big run every Monday, is what I do.

What’s harder stamina-wise: a concert or running a marathon?

A marathon makes a concert seem like a walk in the park. I mean with running, there’s definitely a technique and an art to it. If you’re willing to learn it’s doable, you know the body can get used to anything. It’s really just life lessons on focusing, listening to a coach, taking direction, and learning. You get so much out of it.

Where will you will be carbo loading this year?

You know last year, I was actually in Montreal the night before, and I had to do some promo for the New Kids tour. It actually ended up being a good distraction for me. But this year, I hope to be in town, so I’m definitely going to go to the North End. My favorite place is Ristorante Saraceno, and the owner Frank is my buddy. I’m going to go with the pasta carbonara. I think that’ll be the call.

I read that you recently purchased a home in Plymouth. Is that a vacation home or are you guys planning on making a move back to town?

It’s more of a vacation place. My kids have a lot of cousins, and nothing’s better then cousins! There’s just a great bond there, so I’m looking forward to spending time there. It’s funny, too, because I didn’t push the sports thing with my kids, but my oldest son is all about Boston sports.

Smart kid.

Like he is obsessed with the Bruins, and of course I’m like so excited about that. But if anyone wants to know, of course, don’t push anything on your kids, because once you push something they’re going to go the other way. So I never pushed it, but I guess he saw my connection to Boston sports and wanted to be a part of it, too. Now, he’s a big fan. So we bought the house just to have that Boston connection and to spend some family time there, so I’m looking forward to it.

NKOTB will be in Vegas for a few days, but there won’t be any North American tours at all in 2014?

That is correct, we are doing four nights, actually.

Last year at the Boston Strong concert you wore your medal. Was that planned?

You know I had it on, and I wanted to at least share a little bit of my experience there.

It was a moving moment I think, for everyone watching.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You know I just wanted to share it. I know we all have our own story and our own grief, and unfortunately someone always has it worse on that day, but at the same time we still have to grieve and tell our stories in our own way, and that was helpful for me in order to share that.

What’s your goal for this year?

I’d like to beat 3:57:06.


Joey McIntyre training

Training selfie! Chocolate milk hat! Photo provided.

McIntyre has been chronicling his training through his Twitter and Tumblr accounts. Below, some of the highlights:


Danny Wood is running, too.


Selfie from last year’s start line:


Even celebrities need a bathroom break:


Good luck, Joey!