Even before she began attending Town Creek Elementary School in Lexington Park, St. Mary’s County resident Finley Costello had developed a passion for running and playing soccer and now she takes part in charity running events to benefit a childhood friend who can no longer participate in them.

Costello, a rising fifth grader at Town Creek who plans to attend Leonardtown High School beginning in 2024 and the U.S. Naval Academy in 2028, competes in the school’s running club and has logged over 200 miles during the year for the school’s Terrapin Running Club. She first began running with her friend, Parker Mayorgas, 13, who suffers from muscular dystrophy.

“I love running and playing soccer and the running helps me stay in shape for soccer,” said Costello, who plays for the Team Chaos U-11 squad. “Both my parents [Jenna and Donald Costello] were runners and I started running with them when I was 3 or 4. I enjoy running every day for my school and then being able to run for Parker.”

Mayorgas, who lives in San Diego, was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at an early age and now only has limited walking ability since the disease has spread to his heart. In recent and future 5K events, Mayorgas gets pushed in a wheelchair around the track by his parents [Melissa and Dan Mayorgas] and occasionally by Costello, who is pleased to assist her longtime friend.

“In the last 5K, I was able to run and then push Parker across the finish line in his wheelchair,” said Finley Costello, who competed in her first official 10K when she was only 7 years of age. “I am just glad to be able to be there with my friend. It makes me feel good that I can help my friend. I’ve known him a long time. I know he can no longer run in those events, but I am glad to be able to go out there and run for him.”

Finley Costello’s mother, Jenna Costello, is a health teacher at Leonardtown High School. She has been impressed with her daughter’s passion for running and playing soccer and devotedness to her friend, Parker Mayorgas, who can no longer run in 5K events.

“Finley is really mature for her age,” Costello said. “She’s always enjoyed running and playing soccer and she wants to do both at Leonardtown. She’s always been really close to Parker. His condition is a lot more serious than she’s led on to believe right now. But anytime she gets a chance to run for Parker she’s out there.”

Debbie Settle, who has taught at Town Creek Elementary for more than 30 years, has been impressed with Finley Costello’s dedication to running and to her longtime friend. Finley Costello runs for Team Muscle Maker, a group that Melissa Mayorgas began to help raise funds for muscular dystrophy awareness and heads to Town Creek Elementary recess running club.

“In the 33 years that I have taught, there have been a few dedicated runners with the drive, determination and heart of Fin’,” Settle said. “She has been running since she was 5 years old and has competed in many official events. Over the years she has completed 15 5K runs and 11 10K runs. Parker is in a wheelchair and can no longer run, but still participates with his parents and Finley has stuck by her friend along the way.”

Melissa Mayorgas has commended Finely Costello’s friendship and devotion to her son, Parker, since the families met. Parker actually spends very little time in a wheelchair and this fall will be the first time that Parker will bypass a traditional school year to be homeschooled.

“Finley is such an amazing person,” Melissa Mayorgas said. “She’s so passionate about running and it seems like she can just run all day. I know Parker really enjoys their friendship. Even in the 5K’s when my husband pushes him in the wheelchair he enjoys being out there. He would probably still be out there walking the 5K’s if it had not spread to his heart.”

Twitter: @tblacksomds1

Twitter: @tblacksomds1