Archive for October, 2012

Time Of Reflection

Posted: October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

I had plenty of time to think during my 11 hour drive to Virginia today.  The past 6 weeks have been extremely challenging in that I’ve lost 3 iconic friends, so unexpectedly and suddenly.  As I navigate the cycle of grief I realize that I have changed.  I need to circle the wagons around focusing on the important things and people in my life.  I need to become closer to the people who support and inspire me.

I am more committed to honoring the legacy of Kevin, Fulvio and Marisa by living in their example.  I know that I have fallen short several times recently but I am determined to move forward in their spirit.  I need to pursue the high standard they have established with the same determination and tenacity that I once pursued marathon times.  The honorable way they lived their lives will be my True North!

The Marathon Coalition Kick-Off is scheduled for November 27th and I look forward to that evening on several levels.  Coaching charity runners has been one of the highest honors in my life.  I am humbled by their example of serving others.  That evening I will meet people who will become lifelong friends and whom will inspire me to be a better person.   Their determination and dedication to improving the lives of others will also inspire me to continue on my personal journey of honoring my mother’s memory.

I will give the 2013 Marathon Coalition TEAM my best effort as a coach…they deserve nothing less.


A Quiet And Humble Inspiration

Posted: October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

On this day in 1997 I coached my first marathon Team.  I had the honor of taking 200 dedicated runners and walkers to Dublin, Ireland as part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America’s Tean In Training program.  This TEAM raised the bar extremely high by raising more than $750,000 to support the LLS mission.  This was the beginning of an amazing 17 year journey as a coach if charity runners.

On person in particular on that TEAM continues to be an incredible source of inspiration, Edward McIntyre.  Ed has run 16 consecutive Dublin marathons in memory of his brother, niece and countless others that have been afflicted with blood cancers.  Here is an excerpt from his fundraising page:

“Running marathons to raise money to fund leukemia research started out as personal.  Losing a brother and niece surviving a harrowing ordeal, I and my children have had too many friends and loved ones succumb to leukemia.  Indeed cancer continues to touch all our lives in some way or another.  I’m committed to raising $6,000 which I hope to exceed with your generosity.  Together we have the power to conquer leukemia.”

Ed’s legacy hasn’t been lost on his children.  I also had the privilege of training his daughter Kate.  Here is her post on Facebook today:

“‎17 years ago this month, my dad sat on the Tarmac at Logan Airport & promised God if he helped him finish one Dublin Marathon for Leukemia Society, he would do 9 more. Today marks 16 more. God please be with him from start to finish! What determination! What inspiration!”

My thoughts will be with Ed and his Team In Training teammates as they run the Dublin Marathon today to give hope and the gift of life to the honored patients and heroes of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Here is Ed’s fundraising page if you would like to support his efforts:

Ed McIntrye

I am looking forward to attending the 21st Annual Leading Women Awards Breakfast sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts tomorrow morning.  I’ll have the privilege of meeting the 2012 recipients of this prestigious award.  I’m excited to have the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts joining the Marathon Coalition this year.  They have done so much to help build courage, confidence and character in the 41,000 girls between the ages of 5-17 they serve.

Here is more information about the Leading Women Award:

The Leading Women Award recognizes women leaders who serve as exemplary role models for today’s girls. Since 1992, we have honored over 200 women with the Leading Women Award. The prestigious list of past honorees includes women of outstanding success who made a phenomenal impact in an impressive array of fields.They come from every imaginable career and community. Because the awards are based on the principles of Girl Scouting, our Leading Women are explorers, collaborators and innovators – women of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.

“Each year we honor leaders who have made a positive impact. The Leading Women Awards is a great way for our girls to meet and learn from role models and for our supporters to hear what today’s Girl Scouts are about, and how we are creating future women leaders.” said Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts CEO, Ruth N. Bramson.

In Memory Of Marisa Auerbach!

Posted: October 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

I will be forever changed and inspired by the tragic loss of Dr. Cynthia Lucero during the 2002 Boston Marathon.  And I will be never forget standing at the finish line of the race that Lori and I started to honor her memory when Cynthia’s father asked if I could arrange a special moment for him.  Marisa Auerbach was 11 years old when she received Cynthia’s heart and she was running the race that fall morning.  Mr. Lucero wanted to place his head on Marisa’s chest so he could hear and feel his daughter’s heart…one of the most special moments of my life!

Marisa Auerbach, 22; organ donor backer had new heart

By Bryan Marquard

Boston Globe Staff

 October 26, 2012



In an unexpected rainbow, Marisa Auerbach savored beauty others might miss by not lingering to look, and her appreciation was there for all to see and share.“I could hear her amazing laugh from miles away,” her youngest sister Emily said during Ms. Auerbach’s funeral, adding that “when Marisa smiled, everyone smiled.”Making collages with her two younger sisters, piling on blankets for a sleepover, or adding to the 100 or so nail polish bottles that filled her bedroom, Ms. Auerbach ­inspired all to find joy in ordinary moments.

“She could look past all the stress in life and the societal norm to go to college and make a million dollars,” said her other sister, Sarah. “The most ­important thing to her was to do what made her happy all the time. Most of us forget that life is short.”

Life stretched a decade longer for Ms. Auerbach after she received a heart transplant from Cynthia Lucero, the 28-year-old psychologist who collapsed during the Boston Marathon in 2002 after becoming overhydrated.

Ms. Auerbach, who quietly and forcefully became an advocate for organ donation, urging friends, students, and state workers to make their wishes known, died of heart failure Oct. 14 in Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

She was 22 and lived in ­Sharon.

In February, she was diagnosed with a type of lymphoma that afflicts some patients who take medication to suppress the immune system after a transplant.

Chemotherapy weakened the new heart that had allowed her to more vigorously partake of life.

Ms. Auerbach participated in the benefit race named for Lucero and once wrote in an essay: “I run in her memory. . . . I run with her family, and her friends. But most of all, I run because I can.”

Lucero, she wrote, “will ­always be close to me, because her heart beats inside of me. She helped so many people, but for me, she gave me the gift of life: a new, healthy heart.”

Born in Brigham and Women’s, Ms. Auerbach was diagnosed as a baby with cardio­myopathy and during her first dozen years had to walk while others ran.

Some summers she traveled to Vermont, where she studied art at the Putney School, crafting jewelry, stained glass, and collages that displayed inspirational phrases.

“When she got her heart, she ran and did everything,” said her mother, Andrea.

“She was normal for 10 years.”

Ms. Auerbach became an ambassador for organ donation, speaking to workers at the state Registry of Motor ­Vehicles office in Brockton and to anyone else who wavered when deciding whether or not to check the donor box.

“She used to speak to kids in high school and college about the benefits of organ donation,” said her father, Victor. “I believe that she saved a lot of lives by making people aware.”

Graduating from Sharon High School in 2008, she spent a year at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania and then attended Massasoit Community College.

While at Edinboro, she alarmed her father by calling to say she couldn’t find her health insurance card. His concerns did not diminish when she said she needed the card to go skydiving.

“Then she said: ‘Oh, never mind, I just found it. Talk to you soon,’ ” he said at the ­funeral. “Ninety minutes later she called me from a field in Ohio. She thought she was ­invincible.”

No one could blame her for thinking so. She had a marathon runner’s heart and had persevered through a lifetime of hospitals, major surgery, and endless pills.

“She has always been an ­invincible superhero in my eyes,” Sarah said at the funeral. “Every essay that I have ever been assigned to write about a hero has been about Marisa. But whenever I told her that she was so brave and so strong . . . she always shook her head and told me that she was given this life and that I would be as brave as her if I was put into her situation.”

Knowing life was precious and tenuous, Ms. Auerbach did not scrimp on everyday pleasures, whether bringing home a cat to join the household or taking a job at a cosmetics store to indulge her taste for fashion and makeup.

“She enjoyed the small stuff and loved life in the simple ­moments that many people ignore,” Sarah said at the funeral, adding that her sister “vowed to live life with no regrets, and I am so proud of her for fulfilling that promise.”

In 2005, three years after the heart transplant, Ms. ­Auerbach told the Globe that friends at school sometimes did not grasp the enormity of what she had gone through.

“They know what happened, but I don’t think they know how I feel,” said Ms. ­Auerbach, who was 14 at the time. “I feel very thankful.”

At her sister’s funeral, Sarah said one of Ms. Auerbach’s ­“favorite quotes goes like this: ‘Some people come into our lives and quickly go. . . . others stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts . . . and we are changed forever.’ She is ­only 22 years old, but she has left footprints on each and ­every one of our hearts, and, thanks to her, we are forever changed.”

In addition to her parents and two sisters, Ms. Auerbach leaves her paternal grandmother, Roslyn of Brockton, and her step-grandmother, Karen Rapp of Sarasota, Fla.

“I am truly blessed to have gotten to have you in my life,” her sister Emily said at the ­funeral.

“God needs you up there for a reason,” she said. “Marisa, my beautiful warrior, you are the strongest of them all. . . . I love you past the world, now and forever.”

Just before illness sent Ms. Auerbach to the hospital for her remaining weeks, she and her family drove on a rainy Friday to Cape Cod, where for years she loved to spend vacations in the sun.

Ms. Auerbach was born on the Fourth of July, and “every year she would look forward to the summer and going to the beach,” Sarah said in an interview.

“To her, it was always the best time of her life: Every summer, going to Cape Cod.”

During the drive down on Sept. 21, though, a rainbow suddenly stretched across the sky as the Auerbachs ­approached their hotel.

“As we got closer, it got larger and larger,” her mother said during Ms. Auerbach’s funeral.

“We had never seen such a big rainbow before. She was snapping so many pictures of it.”

“I believe that she is now somewhere over the rainbow,” her mother said.

“She was always so full of beautiful colors. And now when you see a beautiful rainbow in the sky that is our Marisa, shining bright over us and full of beautiful colors.”

2013 Marathon Coalition TEAM

Posted: October 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Once the leaves start falling I begin to transition back to coaching mode and preparing for the 2013 Boston Marathon.  I met with Mike Wasserman and Skip Burns at Bottom Line this morning to discuss the upcoming season.  We are going to have the largest Team ever in 2013.

The Marathon Coalition was just an idea 4 years ago and to now have charities requesting to join our group is a complete blessing.  I will be forever grateful for Mike’s vision and commitment.  I couldn’t ask for a better partner in this endeavor.  None of this growth would have been possible without the dedication of all the Marathon Coalition Boston Marathon runners the past 4 years!

Our 2013 Marathon Coalition TEAM will consist of the following charities:


I am looking forward to meeting all the new TEAM members at our kick-off at the Museum of Science on November 27th and our first training on December 1st.


Returning From Injury

Posted: October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

Runners returning from an extended injury face a number of challenges.  It’s important to be patient and allow the body to acclimate to the rigors of running.  Incorporating a higher frequency of rest days and cross training will provide an easier transition to consistent and moderate running.  Taking more regular walk breaks (i.e., 1 minute of walking for every 9 minutes of running is recommended).

Most injuries can be prevented if you listen closely to the signs your body is providing and you err on the side of caution.  This is far easier to appreciate in theory than application.  Running provides so many benefits and scaling back or avoiding it altogether can be difficult.

Here are several suggestions to avoid injury:

1. Pay close attention to how your body is responding to training.

2. Monitor your resting heart rate each morning and scale back the intensity and distance of your runs when necessary.

3. Incorporate RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) at the first sign of unusual pain.

4. Incorporate cross-training and rest days when necessary.

5. Rotate your running shoes regularly.

6. Stay hydrated, eat well and get plenty of rest.

7. Stretch thoroughly after each run to improve your flexibility.

Good luck and I hope you’re able to sustain an injury-free training program.

Paying Tribute…

Posted: October 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

We should all hope for a long life, but be mindful that it can fall well short of our expectations.  I lost two extremely close friends in the past 3 weeks that were nothing short of iconic in the way they lived.  Losing friends, whether expected or not, can dramatically affect your sense of calm and security in the world.

Kevin Dully passed just over two weeks short of his 20th anniversary of receiving a bone marrow transplant from his brother, Brian.  I met Kevin in 1997 just after losing my mother to leukemia.  Kevin was an Honored Hero for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and I was the head coach for their Team In Training program.  I was taken by his smile and willingness to give so much of himself to those battling blood cancers.  His efforts gave hope to all the patients and their families.  He also played a significant role in providing the gift of life to many.

Despite battling significant health issues that placed his own life at risk, he never complained.  He was so positive the entire 15 years that I knew him.  He took a genuine interest in everyone he met.  Kevin was a goalie on his high school’s state championship soccer team and a gifted athlete.  His health issue prevented him from enjoying the sports that he loved and required a herculean effort just to carry out simple tasks and make it through each day.  I often wished I could share my energy and ability to run with him.  He had the spirit of a marathoner but simply couldn’t fulfill the dream of completing one.

Here is a picture of my dear friend, Kevin Dully with his devoted wife Laura and their son Andrew.  They recently renewed their wedding vows and Lori and I were honored to celebrate with them:

On October 1st, Lori and I received the shocking news that our close and dear friend, Fulvio Abela, passed suddenly at work.  He and I were scheduled to run the New York Marathon together next month.  He had just run 17 miles the day before and felt great when he arrived at work on Monday morning.  While his family and his large community of friends attempt to deal with the immense grief of losing him, we eventually hope to understand ‘why’ he was so abruptly taken from us.

Lori and I coached Fulvio for his first Boston Marathon and enjoyed many years of friendship with him.  I have never met anyone with more energy.  His magnetism captured the attention of everyone he met.  There were so many Saturday mornings that he would arrive late for training…I would be in the middle of a long and boring pre-run presentation, when he would suddenly enter the room and announce his presence with a “Good Morning Everyone!”   Everyone loved Fulvio.

He also had an endless and captivating smile and a kind word for everyone he met.  Fulvio loved to run…he always referred to himself as Olympic Material.  I still cannot believe he’s not with us.  I will miss his monster hugs and the happiness that he provided to all of us.

Here is a picture of Fulvio taken at a recent Boston Marathon responding to a horde of adoring fans:

Kevin and Fulvio shared a lot in common.  They were the two most dedicated people to their families.  Their wives and children were the foundation of who they were and all that they offered.  They had a passion for life and lived each day as it would be their last.  They weren’t paralyzed by trival things we can all become easily bogged down by.  They gave so much of themselves and expected so little in return.

I shared one thing in common with both of them…I was also born in 1958.  Beyond that, I fall well short of their example of living a truly purposeful life.  But, just as I have dedicated myself to running the past 36 years, I will now dedicate to live my life as they did.

I will miss you both!

Fulvio was taken from us far too soon.  But he had an impact on the world that goes well beyond any measure of success.  He established a benchmark of loving and living that we should all strive to achieve.  And even if we come up short…we will have far exceeded the expectation, by a wide margin, of our greatest ambition and achievement.