What kind of scientist are you?

I am a neurogeneticist, trying to identify genetic causes of neurological diseases like Alzheimer's, ALS and schizophrenia.


Where is your most favorite place on earth?

San Francisco.


Tell us about your dad?

My dad was a three time Olympian representing Greece in Montreal 1976, Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984. He was 4th in the 1980 Boston marathon. He held the national records in Greece in all distances from the mile to the marathon during the years he was active. In 1979 at the Mediterranean Games held in Split, Croatia he broke the world record in the marathon running a 2:06:53, but the course was found to be 800m short on re-measurement three months after the event, rendering the time unofficial. My dad was never talking about his accomplishments, only of stories about his fellow-runners and places he had seen. Most of all, he was a devoted friend, humble, kind, with a smile fixed on his face and an example of selflessness; he was a real good man. I miss him every day, but when I run it feels like he's there...especially during the long runs.


Let's talk about music. I saw on Instagram that you went to see Slayer recently hence my "death metal" reference. What's your favorite song?
What was the best show you've ever seen?

Running up that hill by Placebo. Coming to think about it, it sounds ironic after all the Heartbreaker practices “Running up that hill”.....either Heartbreak or Beacon :) . My favorite show was a concert by Radiohead back at home (Thessaloniki, Greece), probably because it was the first concert I ever went to!  


What's your favorite race distance so far?

The half-marathon; having a training plan and going for long runs with my teammates Iris and Lindsay, helped me really enjoy my last one.  


What was your favorite Heartbreaker event so far?

It's really hard to pick one..... I thought the Fireside chats were quite special! What a privilege to listen to Joanie Benoit Samuelson, Shalane Flanagan or have Alberto Salazar explain how Yomif Kejelcha would attempt to break the world record in the indoor mile in Boston, which he did!! We are honestly spoiled :)

Heartbreaker Highlight - Maria Kousi

She's a world class scientist. Her dad was a world class marathoner. She didn't pick up running until moving to Boston in her 30s and joining the Heartbreakers - we're honored! She's sincere and easy going. She loves death metal.* She's from Greece, lived in Finland, and now lives in Boston.


* She calls is it "alternative/rock"

Get to know Heartbreaker Highlight Maria Kousi in this quick interview with Chief Heartbreaker Dan Fitzgerald.

Heartbreaker Highlights receive a prize pack from our friends at Harpoon Brewery so let's raise a Rec League pale ale to Maria! 

First, thanks for finding the Heartbreakers. How did you connect to us? Why inspired you to start running? Why now?

Every year there is a half-marathon organized in Greece to honor my father, Michail Kousis and his athletic career. Every year I was seeing pictures of everyone running it. Last year I decided I didn't just want to be there for the ceremony, but had to do something concrete.....like running it myself. I thought it would have been a one and done. After the race I realized that running had changed me for the better and had become a core part of my life. Coming back to Boston, I was looking for groups I could have joined and my PT recommended the Heartbreakers. During a lunch break I walked over to the HB Cambridge location and signed up. As for the timing, next year it will be 40 years since my father ran the 1980 Boston marathon, ranking 4th in 2:16:03. It would mean the world to me to commemorate him by running in his footsteps, albeit much slower :), 40 years later. Before I joined the team, I never thought I could run a marathon, but now I can't wait to give it a try and line up at Hopkinton in 2020. And it's not just the race, it's all the practices before that that I'm looking forward to the most, because as coach you say, it's the people you share this experience with that make all the difference!