To say that REV front desk staff member, Brittany O’Neill, has endurance is a massive understatement. Besides working at REV, Brittany is a fully licensed speech language pathologist. REV is a part-time commitment outside of her grueling full-time job re-training patients who have lost their abilities to swallow after experiencing strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and respiratory failure. Yet, between a full-time job caring for patients and part-time job taking care of the REV studio and its clients, Brittany has taken up another challenge - the Philadelphia Marathon. It will be her first full marathon.
Brittany grew up in a small lake community in New Jersey called Green Pond; however, she’s the complete opposite of a “small town girl.” She takes on challenges and new experiences with positive energy and a can-do attitude. While completing her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola University Maryland in 2015, she stumbled upon REV when shopping at Harris Teeter. She took her first class, immediately loved it, and applied for a job soon after. “After being submerged in the Loyola world for so long, REV really introduced me to people in the next chapter of my life,” Brittany said. Little did she know it would have an immense impact on her life and ultimately pave the way to the Philadelphia 26.2 that she never would have dreamed of doing.
“If you asked me to go on a run in high school, I would have laughed in your face,” Brittany joked. But as she started running more in grad school, she actually began to enjoy it. When she completed her first half marathon in 2015 with little training, she thought to herself: “imagine if you actually committed yourself…”
It all started with that thought and was ultimately carried out through the persuasiveness of REV instructor, Jami Crist. When Brittany was contemplating running another half marathon, Jami convinced her to do a full. “Jami put it on her Instagram story, so then I had to commit!” Brittany said. But she was pumped to do it. “I not only want to prove physical strength to myself, but also mental strength, commit to a training plan, and push myself to do something completely out of my comfort zone.” Physical and mental strength, commitment, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone - Brittany began to fully embody REV’s core values.
Brittany will be the first to say that training thus far has not been all “sunshine and butterflies.” In the beginning of her training, she was forced to rest for three weeks due to cringe-worthy blisters on her heels that she got while on a 9-mile hike in Virginia. “I couldn't wear shoes for two weeks.” But she soon bounced back, refocused her plan, and started reaping the rewards of distances she never thought she would do in an average day. “I'm saying, holy shit I can do this. Even when my calves feel like they are on fire.”
Despite the obstacles thrown at her, Brittany is acutely aware of her REV fam’s unyielding support. Especially that of Jami Crist, who’s friendship and mentorship with Brittany has extended outside the spin room. “Whether it was her dragging my ass out in the blazing sun to go for a run or just a text saying, ‘I nearly puked in the Boston Harbor after a 10 mile run,’ she's a constant source of accountability, keeping me on track,” Brittany said.
Multiple REV fam members are attending the marathon to either run with Brittany or meet her at the finish line and carry her to brunch. This, is a major source of inspiration for her. “If I didn't work at REV, there are so many people that are present in my life right now who have become family that I would have never have even known.”