My Comeback Story Dedicated To My Mom


This is going to be a very different blog post than I have ever done before…for those that don’t know on January 26, 2021 my mom lost her 2 week battle with COVID.  I am going to be talking about a comeback story and share with you my story on how my mom is the reason I am here doing this with you today and able to follow my passion and serve our running community.  This is the episode dedicated to my mom and is really going to be Part two of my story as a healthy runner.  I also like to consider this my “let me reintroduce myself….” episode.



This blog and healthy runner podcast episode will be special for 2 reasons:


  • It is our 1 year anniversary since the Healthy Runner podcast went live on all platforms on 2/25/2020!


  • This is my comeback story episode dedicated to my mom who we recently lost due to COVID and I wanted to share with you her story and my deeper dive story of who I am as the man behind the microphone you have been listening to and supporting for the past 57 episodes.


Click this video of the exciting, reflective, and very personal episode like none other that I have done in the past.  



Listen to the Podcast Episode during your next run!


I thank you in advance for allowing me to share my mom with you and allowing me to be a part of this amazing supportive healthy runner community!  I look forward to continuing to serve our running community and live my passion through the values she instilled in me.


This is an exciting time because without even knowing this when I planned to do this episode, ironically as I record this episode it will be going live on all podcast platforms this Thursday (when we have all our new episodes drop) and the date of this Thursday is 2/25/21 exactly 1 year after the Healthy Runner podcast officially went live with our first episode which was titled “Intro to becoming a healthy runner: My Story”.  So this is our 1 year anniversary episode and I am proud of this accomplishment as when I first launched the podcast, honestly I wasn’t sure what it would turn out to be. 


As many of you know, I pour my heart and soul into creating the best show possible, and it’s working – we’re growing really fast and consistently rank in the top 30 in running on Apple podcasts.  We had our first 5k download month in January and each and every month our downloads and subscribers are increasing and we have 77 ratings on Apple podcasts of runners who are enjoying the content and not afraid to share how this podcast has helped them in their running health.   


As I mentioned 2 episodes ago, we also have our first sponsor in UCAN energy sponsoring our show so this is very exciting to see where we are 1 year later! UCAN nutrition which is powered by superstarch and it delivers that steady long lasting energy without the spike and then the crash.


Since you are part of our healthy runner community, you will get 15% off all of your orders at ucan.co.  Just use the code HEALTHYRUNNER during checkout when placing your order.  Go ahead and give ucan a try, trust me…you won’t regret it



The other accomplishment I am super proud about is that we have over 1400 members in our Healthy Runner FB community and expanded to have a team of run coaches to guide you in meeting your running goals and we all post daily content in the facebook community so if you are listening on the podcast request to join our FB group by clicking here to get additional content that is not published on the podcast.




I want to share with you the eulogy I shared with my family and friends at my mom’s service




Hello everyone.  My name is Duane Scotti and I take great pride in sharing my last name with you as I do every single day professionally and publicly through my business and podcast show.  The reason I do this is because I decided to change my last name going through physical therapy school because of the woman I was lucky enough to have in my life for 41 years.  I am grateful for having my mom as a part of my life every single one of those years.  We all miss her a lot already, but her legacy lives on through her love of family and friends.


These are certainly challenging times we live in during this pandemic and I thank all of you who are here with us today whether you are here in person or tuning in to the livestream.  I know how much you want to be here for my family and I know that my mom feels the love from all of you no matter what state you are tuning in from. My mom has left memories and impressions on lives from Long Island NY, Connecticut, and South Carolina during her time with us.


My mom believed in sharing the love of family and friends.


We always had fun with my mom and she always liked a good party!


Whether it was celebrating holidays, birthdays, or special events


For example, as a family, we never experienced New Years Eve in Time Square but mom made it feel like we were right there in the streets with Dick Clark during his rocking eve because she would always say when we were taking pictures “get by the TV”. 


As our family got older and moved to different states, I would continue the love of family my mom instilled in me with annual Scotti Christmas’ and we would continue our family tradition of enjoying her mom’s Aleou, drinking wine or eating Italian cookies and cannoli’s.  And how can we forget about mom’s famous mushrooms in which I will always think of you mom when I cook them for the rest of my life. 


For birthday’s, we always got together to celebrate as a family by going out to hibachi dinner and of course this had to be followed up with Kiwi Spoon frozen yogurt!


A family tradition of ours that my mom passed on from her childhood was family game night.  Growing up during her childhood, it was lotto, bingo, and various card games but for me, the past 30 years we have enjoyed many great memories whether it was playing.


I will never forget the many years of playing Sorry, Clue, or Yahtzee growing up but more recently seeing my mom teach my girls how to play these games and our new favorites of Rummikub, Sequence, and Boggle.  Don’t worry ma, your competitive spirit has been passed down to me as well as Olivia (with Blokus) and Gabby (with Clue)


My mom had a smile and laugh that was contagious.


She was a music collector with hundreds of vinyl records and then thousands of CD’s proudly displayed in her living room.  Music was always on whether she was cleaning the house, getting ready to attend an event, or while we were playing board games.  I believe she passed that trait along to me and my girls as well because there is always someone listening to music whether it is through their air pods or played through Alexa in our house!


I’m not sure if you knew this but my mom was a talker.  When you had a phone conversation with her it was never under 20 min.  The level of detail was amazing!  The best is when she left you a voicemail and would tell you a story and when you called back she felt compelled to repeat the whole story to you again because now she was talking to you live!


Mom could also be tough, she was passionate and opinionated. There was no sugar coating it when it came to how she felt.  What I do know is that it always came from a place of love straight from the heart because she cared.   She was like a skittle… hard on the outside but once you got to know her you saw she was soft and sweet on the inside. 


In fact, her love for family was apparent, the dozens of emoji hearts and kisses she would text you to show her love.


If you ever saw her house or apartment you would see the hundreds of pictures she had proudly displayed of her parents, siblings, children or her 8 grandchildren. 


My mother always said that the way she planned to make the world a better place was to raise son’s who knew how to treat other women with respect. She was proud when my brother and I did well in school, a matter of fact we just came across all the programs from every single graduation, dance recital, and award ceremony and she always would highlight our name and the accomplishment we were getting as only a proud mother could.  She always fought for a front row center aisle seat to cheer us on during our dance performances, but she was happiest when my brother and I showed respect, kindness, and equality for the women in our lives.


Speaking from a parents perspective, when I first became a dad is the point that I really appreciated the sacrifices my mom made for us as children. 


My mom was a single parent raising three young children and decided to go to college (while working full time) to set a better path for her children.  In 1988 she earned her associates degree from Suffolk Community College making the deans list as well as the honors program.  She then went on to graduate from Long Island University CW Post with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1992.  She did this working overnight shifts and making sure we were taken care of as children.  Family and friends definitely helped out and has been the clue that has bonded us together throughout my life.


Becoming a parent myself, I understand how hard it is to care for 1 child let alone multiple children all while working full time.  I believe my mom’s work ethic is something I learned and led me to also follow her footsteps going back to school as an adult when I decided to advance my career to become a full-time professor.  In order to do this, I had to set along a path toward obtaining a PhD degree with my girls being 1 and 4 years old at time.  I did this for 6 years working full time as a physical therapist, teaching part time at the University, and being an involved parent with my girls.  However, I did this with the help of a very supportive wife who was there to pick up what I couldn’t do and get us through that most difficult and challenging time in my life.  I always said, I don’t know how my mom did this as a single working parent of not two children but three!  By her doing this, during a time period in the 80’s when it was not popular for women to go to college and put career in front of being a mom but I know she did this for her love of her family so we can live a better life without the struggle she had to go through as a young adult. 


Mom, you have always been there for Olivia and Gabby, whether it was watching them so Deb and I can celebrate our anniversary, going to their gymnastics competitions, band concerts, plays, dance recitals.  Or just taking them out for ice cream or going to lunch.  We will continue to keep your Chinese food on xmas and new years day tradition going!


Olivia loves the special times you had together with her like the time you taught her how to make homemade raviolis or the boy advice you would give her to try and convince Deb and I to let her hang out with a boy.


My mom was courageous, determined, and a fighter!


A matter of fact, she fought this virus off for as long as she could before her body just couldn’t handle any more.


I was raised by a mom only (with the help and support of our Scotti family) and now have two beautiful daughters of my own that I know can do anything in life that they want because of people like my mom.  I am grateful she took risks and stepped out of her comfort zone, making sacrifices to pave a better path for us as children and now her grandchildren, especially girls like my daughters.


Mom, your wings were ready, but our hearts were not.  Despite this, I’ll try my best to carry your love of family and friends into the world, all my days. I will continue to remember the values you instilled in me and you will always be the wind beneath my wings during every run.


I love you always and forever.



Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.


I hope that provides some context of my story and who I am today and where I want to grow this community from here.


Thank you and I look forward to our 2 year anniversary on the podcast!



This podcast episode is sponsored by UCAN nutrition which is powered by superstarch and it delivers that steady long lasting energy without the spike and then the crash.

I have been using UCAN Energy during all of my long runs and races since its inception. I absolutely love the berry hydrate to replenish my electrolytes for those sweaty runs.  UCAN’s energy drinks with it’s revolutionary superstarch has done wonders in sustaining energy for my runners during their long runs and races!


Now, I really enjoy the plant-based salted peanut butter or cherry almond UCAN energy bar which is great before or after a workout and is even great during a busy work day.  


I eat these when I am pressed for time to keep my energy levels with healthy nutrition between clients or before podcast episodes!  


Since you are part of our healthy runner community on the blog, you will get 15% off all of your orders at ucan.co.  Just use the code HEALTHYRUNNER during checkout when placing your order.  Go ahead and give ucan a try, trust me…you won’t regret it!


You can listen to all the information in this episode on the Healthy Runner Podcast…available wherever you get your podcasts!



Here is what other runners are saying about the podcast



Thank you (running friends) for taking the time to read and I hope you enjoy the podcast episode!

Warmest regards,


– Duane


Duane Scotti, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS



⚡️ SPARK Physical Therapy and the Healthy Runner Podcast  Helping Active Adults Be Able To Run Without Aches and Pains So You Can Feel Good About Yourself Again…

[Even If You Don’t Think You Are A Runner]

If you are a runner and frustrated with your nagging aches and pains and have been told to stop running, we can help you.


Health for Runners BY Runners ‍


Related posts

IT Band Syndrome Prevention During Marathon Training

  Are you a runner who’s been frustrated in the past that whenever you try to train for a marathon you get sharp pain on the outside of your knee?   Iliotibial Band Syndrome can be frustrating for many runners during a long run when you get that sudden jolt of knee pain that just… View ArticleRead More

Why Does My Achilles Tendon Hurt When I Run?

    Are you starting to feel soreness in the back of your ankle with running? Does it feel stiff when you wake up in the morning or at the start of your run? Are you wondering, why does my achilles tendon hurt when I run?     In this episode I cover all of… View ArticleRead More

Why Do I Hurt When I Go For A Run | Pain Explained

Have you ever been on a run and your foot starts hurting?   Have you had that runners’ high and felt great during a run but had your run that just doesn’t seem to go away? ⠀⠀   It’s time to really understand why we get pain and if you will make your pain worse… View ArticleRead More

“I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude towards Duane Scotti and the Spark Healthy Runner program. When I started working with Duane, I had been dealing with chronic shin splints/posterior tibialis tendinitis for almost a year.

I had worked with multiple other coaches and physical therapists with little success and was at the point of almost giving up on my love for running. Duane is so kind, thoughtful and knowledgeable as both a physical therapist and running coach. Our first virtual meeting lasted two hours because he was so meticulous in his assessment. His strength and running program is progressive and created so that you can continue to build strength and mileage as you heal. His strength program is unique, effective, and fun.

Additionally, his warm-up routine is awesome and includes drills that over time have made me a more efficient runner. His training platform is easy to use, and he is always readily available to chat when problems or questions arise.

Over four months of working with Duane, I have built back to five days a week of running and am almost back up to my pre-injury weekly mileage and long run distance. Whenever I have flare ups or setbacks, Duane reassures me and makes necessary adjustments so that I can continue to progress in my running journey. I have had so much success with him so far that I have signed on for four more months so that he can help me to continue getting stronger as I train for the Dopey challenge in Disney World.

If you are struggling with a running injury and are feeling hopeless, you have to reach out to Duane Scotti. Of course, you will have to put in a lot of hard work, but with Duane by your side, you will be able to achieve your goals and more. Thank you Spark Healthy Runner for bringing the spark back to my running!”

Dipti Pandya

You can teach an old dog new tricks!!!  I have never considered myself a runner and I knew I needed to be smart about it because I am no spring chicken. Spark preached getting strong and healthy to be injury free and they practice what they preach.  I am soooo glad I made the investment in me!  I finished my half marathon last weekend and couldn’t be any happier!  The program fed me all the steps I needed to essentially learn how to run long distance, build strength, nutrition help, a forum of other runners and probably most important was the 1:1 coaching.  I had no idea how to tackle training for a 1/2 marathon and this program broke all of it down, had it individualized for me and we tweaked as we went to make sure I was staying healthy and strong.  I had so many questions the week prior to my race and Coach Cat was always there for me and answering all the questions and issues I had-and believe me there were a lot!  The biggest benefit I think I got was the strength. I am strong and fit. But most important was what I gained emotionally.  I built confidence and strength I didn’t know I had, even at my age.  Honestly could not have done this without Spark Healthy Runners!

Gina J.

My Healthy Runner journey started after I had battled bilateral achilles pain for a few months and was frustrated how it affected my running. As soon as I talked to Duane I knew I had made the right decision. His positivity, enthusiasm and genuine care are infectious. The training plan that was tailored to me included specific exercises to rehab my injury and I was so excited that I didn’t have to stop running. It took patience to only run slow for a few weeks but I trusted the process and it got me me to where I am now: running pain free. We made adjustments to the plan throughout whenever needed having someone in your corner that is always there with guidance and support throughout the process was invaluable.

I just ran my second half marathon, both with Duane’s coaching, and PR’d by over 9 minutes! I got all choked up in the last mile when I realized that I felt strong and could still kick it up a notch.

I’m so thankful for the Healthy Runner program, community and the entire coaching team for all the support!

Katja L.

Sign up for our weekly blog and podcast in order to help you maintain a strong mind, strong body, & just keep running!