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Carlin Long: The Man Behind the Miles

Mary's Meals Ambassador and Director of the Cynthia's Kitchen Project, Carlin Long, goes the distance in memory of his late best friend, Cynthia Phillipson.

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Carlin Long will run the Boston Marathon on April 17. What the whole world will see is the 26.2 miles run by him and fellow racers, but beyond that, for Carlin, is the work put into train and prepare along with one of his biggest motivators: his late best friend, Cynthia Phillipson.

In 2014, Carlin’s life suddenly changed when his best friend, Cynthia, passed away. In her memory, Carlin and their community in Steubenville, Ohio, founded the Cynthia’s Kitchen Project, who funds feeding for over 350 children in Liberia. Carlin and Cynthia became familiar with Mary’s Meals in middle school through a fundraiser.

Carlin and the community have come together through various events and fundraisers to spread Cynthia's positivity. He describes her as the embodiment of everything Mary’s Meals is about and that, “her dignity, respect, kindness, love and her remaining strong in her faith,” inspired him to get involved. His remarkable work ethic and positivity coupled with his faith, have shaped Carlin to be all that he has described Cynthia as. 

Cynthia's Kitchen

Faith has played a big role in Carlin’s journey through grief, his work with Cynthia’s Kitchen and being a marathon runner. He shares with us, “Working on Cynthia's kitchen project has allowed me to see the good God can bring out of so much suffering. It is through Cynthia's memory that over 350 children are fed every single day and are given an opportunity for a better future. God has used this situation and the memory of Cynthia to create thousands of little acts of love to make this project possible.” On his runs, he has found himself talking to God and the beauty that can come from suffering. Carlin compares this to his running and the mental strength he gains from it. This suffering and strength has manifested itself in Carlin representing the Cynthia’s Kitchen Project in marathons. Last spring, he completed the Pittsburgh Marathon, which qualified him to run the 2023 Boston Marathon.

In marathon races, behind the miles is all of the preparation and support that brought runner to the start line. Behind Carlin and the miles he runs is Cynthia’s memory and their community who work together to honor her. Together, the Cynthia’s Kitchen Project, they use their suffering and grief, as fuel to provide hope.

Carlin and his family