Training begins in earnest today for the 2012 Boston Marathon! The start of a new training season promises to be filled with challenge, empowerment and inspiration. It’s always exciting to begin training a new group of runners and share my 35 years of experience and love of running. It continues to astonish me that most of my runners will be running the 2012 Boston Marathon as their first marathon.
I ran my first Boston Marathon in 1979 after running 2:59:55 and qualifying by just 5 seconds, which is only 1-2 steps after running 26.2 miles. I didn’t even know what the Boston Marathon was when I approached the starting line of the Richmond Newspapers Marathon that morning in Richmond, Virginia so I certainly didn’t know I needed to break 3 hours. I knew so little about marathoning prior to running my first marathon. I had never run more than 7 miles beforehand and I consumed a large stack of pancakes just prior to the race. I then ran 4 marathons within 6 months, all sub 3 hour efforts.
We had our kick-off for the Marathon Coalition earlier this week at the Museum of Science. It was heartwarming to hear representatives from each of the 10 charities present their respective mission. I felt so proud as I sat in the back of the room and observed the night unfold. The Marathon Coalition didn’t exist 4 years ago and was spawned from my desire to continue coaching after being the head coach at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ‘s Team In Training program for 12 years and the vision of Mike Wasserman of Bottom Line.
The Marathon Coalition is composed of the following charities:
- Boston Debate League
- Boston Partners in Education
- Bottom Line
- Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester
- Boys & Girls Club of Newton
- Mass Mentoring Partnership
- Museum of Science
- Summer Search
So many students will benefit from the fundraising efforts of each Marathon Coalition runner. The gift of hope, particularly for a better education, can be life altering! Each Marathon Coalition runner should find considerable comfort in knowing they will make a significant difference in the lives of so many from their effort during the next 5 months. The money raised is an annuity that will sustain itself for generations.
I cherish my role as a coach, it ranks right beside being a husband and a father. I enter each training season with the knowledge that it’s going to be extremely challenging to prepare nearly 150 runners to run Boston. But I also know it’s going to be an incredibly rewarding 5 months that will be completely worth the effort I invest.
My goal is always to prepare each runner to complete Boston in relative comfort. I am also minding of the importance of being the best role model possible in an effort to inspire them to accomplish more than they ever imagined in life…well beyond the finish line of the Boston Marathon!