Email update - 09.10.20
I hope you and your loved ones are doing well during this difficult year.
In my last email, sent back in February or so, I let you know that I would be running the Boston Marathon to raise funds for the Society of St. VIncent de Paul (SVDP).
As you probably heard, like most things, the Marathon was called off due to COVID-19. It was initially rescheduled to Sept. 14 (Joanne and my 24th anniversary!) and then changed again when it was clear that an in-person event with 20,000 plus attendees, even one being held outdoors, just wasn’t going to happen. Like many race organizers, the B.A.A. went the route of having a virtual race. With the “Virtual Boston Marathon,” the B.A.A. is allowing runners to complete their 26.2 miles on any day during the week of Sept. 6 - 13.And wouldn’t you know it, that’s this week!
Well, let’s just say I did not keep up with my training. No big reason just a bunch of smaller ones — lack of motivation from not having a proper marathon event; difficulty of running long miles during the hot summer days (worse than training during New England winters); needing to have a mask handy while running (basically water-boarding given my ability to sweat); running not quite seeming as important with everything going on; scheduling with the kids going to college; etc., etc.; blah blah blah and waah waah waah. Believe me, I’m not complaining with everything that’s happening.
But at the same time, the demand for assistance from SVDP has increased during the pandemic. The Society helps people with housing, clothing and food needs, and as you can imagine these requests have not slowed down. And we foresee an increase as other funds dry up. We are working frequently with social workers in the City of Newton, Newton Public Schools and the Newton Housing Authority, as well as other charitable organizations, to help people make ends meet.
So, as the date grew closer, I started thinking that maybe, just maybe I could get out there. Now, let’s be clear, I will not be running the full 26.2 miles this weekend. But I am going to lace ‘em up on Saturday and get out there for a run / walk / whatever-it-takes virtual marathon.
Now truth be told, I’ve had to walk during each of my other marathon runs. So in a way, this won’t be all that different. But I will be going into it with run/walk already in mind. The plan will be to start with a 10 - 12 mile run, then walk for 6 - 8, and then see what my legs say for the rest. Don’t expect any new PRs for my time. And don’t necessarily expect me to finish.
Because the B.A.A. has rather rudely opted not to set up water stations every mile or so just for me, the logistics are a bit of a challenge. The course will return to my house a couple times during the distance, so I can replenish my hydration and fuel (and hopefully resist the temptation of returning to my bed).
I realize that times are challenging. But if you are in a position to make a donation, it would be greatly appreciated and the funds will go to a good cause. Our conference of SVDP is made up of volunteers, so all the money we receive goes to assist those in need in the community.
You can either go to this website to donate online or send a check, made out to St. Vincent de Paul and send it to:
1572 Commonwealth Avenue
Newton, MA 02465
Thoughts, prayers and good vibes on Saturday will be welcome!
Email from 02.26.20
On April 20, I will be running the 2020 Boston Marathon! This will be the fourth time I'll drive out to Hopkinton, only to have to run all the way back. Actually, I need to run even further. We live at Mile 18, so I still have eight more miles to go after getting back home. Keep running, old man!
I was fortunate to receive a bib number from the City of Newton (special thanks to Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and Linda Plazonja, the Citizens Assistance Officer, for granting me one of the numbers!). And I'm even more fortunate to be raising money again for a great charity that helps a lot of people in need, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Of course it's a fundraiser. You didn't actually think I qualified, did you? Give me second here, let me check that website... Even at my advanced age, I'd need to run a 3:25 and that's just not likely. Unless I stash my bike in the bushes next to the house...
ABOUT THE CHARITY
St. Vincent de Paul Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting people during times of need. No work of charity is unfamiliar to the Society; the slogan on the side of the Society’s trucks says it all: “We Help People.” While the organization is international in scope, it operates on a local basis and I volunteer with a conference in Newton. We focus our efforts on helping people primarily with basic needs (housing, food and clothing) in Newton and surrounding communities. We do so by meeting face-to-face with the person to get to know their circumstances, then provide the proper assistance, support and guidance. It is simultaneously humbling to hear about their struggles and uplifting to be able to help. We have helped families with small children, individuals, elderly, those with mental illness, those who have suffered physical, emotional or sexual abuse. We have provided heating and utility assistance; helped with housing costs; gotten homeless people to overnight shelter; provided food; and made referrals to local food pantries and other organizations. We also coordinate several food and clothing drives throughout the year.
The Newton conference is staffed by volunteers so 100% of every dollar collected by our conference goes to helping people. And we serve those in need regardless of creed, ethnic or social background, health, gender, sexual orientation or political opinions. Sure we have a saint in our name, but we are just like any social outreach group, except cooler. Much cooler.
.The Society is a registered 501c3 charity (tax ID 04-2104826) so your donation will be tax deductible. To help those in need in the community, you can make a donation on this page or, if you’d prefer, send a check (made out to St. Vincent de Paul) to:
1572 Commonwealth Ave.
Newton, MA 02465
My goal is to raise $5,000 for this excellent cause. Last year's fundraiser brought in $7200 for people in need. Can we top that number? I don't know. That's a pretty steep hill. But you know what? Heartbreak Hill is a steep hill. And so is the hill after the firehouse turn, right near my house. And what about that bridge on Beacon Street, the one near Fenway Park at about mile 24? That's a deceptively steep hill (at least after 24 miles). So it looks like we all have some steep hills to climb.
Each of my three previous Boston Marathons were either on the day after Easter or Palm Sunday, both of which involve pretty massive feasts with Joanne's family. The food is out of this world, but not exactly what "Runner's World" probably has in mind for carbo loading. This year's race is a full week after Easter, which should give me a bit more time to digest. And I'll need all the help I can get. Truth be told, the marathon distance is a bit tough for me. My goals are to have a good training season, avoid them injuries, not get sick and then simply finish the marathon. Keep it simple.
At any rate when the run is over, I’ll send an update email, let the donors know I’ve survived. Maybe it'll have a chuckle or two in it.
Welp, that's about it. I hope there are no typos in this because it's late and I have no desire to re-read it. If you've read it this far, give yourself a pat on the back.
If you can donate, any amount, it would be much appreciated. I will also be happily accepting positive thoughts and prayers on April 20!
P.S. -- I have three pics on the fundraising page. I believe the one of me -- and sorry for the horrific close-up but it's a cropping issue with the GoFundMe page -- is from the 2010 Boston Marathon. Then we have a pic with Bill Rodgers after a Thompson Island Trail Run, with "Boston Billy" autographing the hat from the previous pic. Cool! Finally, there's a pic with Shalane Flanagan before the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon. Maybe the pics with these Boston Marathon greats will bring me luck!