After what was one of the best days ever (in all seriousness) last April on the road from Hopkinton to Boston, I am beyond excited to announce that I’ll be running the Boston Marathon this April, once again to benefit Project Just Because. This is not something I take lightly – thousands, myself included, strive for years to qualify for this race, others work hard to raise thousands to benefit great causes around the Greater Boston area, and no matter what gets us all to that start line in April, there are only about 30,000 of us in the world that get to run the world’s longest running marathon that finishes in the best city. If anyone has followed my journey as a runner, you already know how much I have grown to love running the last several years, and for anyone who runs, you can relate when I say that Boston is like the Superbowl of the sport. I can’t think of a better combination than getting to do what I love, to help an organization like Project Just Because. I have spent time volunteering at PJB, and I admire their mission, their drive, and their dedication to the people of the Greater Boston area. Thousands and thousands of people spanning from central Mass and beyond, all the way east to Boston and beyond, get to benefit from the work PJB does day in and day out. They collect donations for clothing, toys, backpacks, school supplies, Christmas presents for those who may be facing financial or personal challenges this holiday season, and they do all of their packaging, sorting, and providing with a smile on their face. The individuals that work here are some of the sweetest – and they work tirelessly to provide help for those in the area needing a hand. I love running for Project Just Because simply because it is such a relatable organization to all of us. It is a unique charity – many of the charities running for Boston are medical related, and those are absolutely fantastic too – but I find this one extra special. The individuals who receive aid from PJB could be any one of us if our finances take an unfortunate turn for any number of reasons. You literally never know who may be struggling and in need of a hand. Things that seem simple to many people, like clothes, school supplies, winter jackets, etc, are simply not in the budget for so many people – and those aren’t things that people should have to worry about when there are enough other stresses in life. I’m excited to set out training and fundraising, and what more perfect time to kick off my fundraising than during the Christmas season, in the spirit of giving. If you’re able to donate in any amount, it is appreciated more than you know, and you are helping to keep an amazing organization running smoothly and helping thousands who need it, especially as the winter approaches. Your money goes to help PJB maintain their great location in Hopkinton, and your money helps to cover different things that people need that are lacking. I remember last spring, the President of PJB reached out to me and let me know that it’s because of our donations that a young woman in the area was able to come by and pick up baby clothes and diapers that she was unable to get on her own. This story meant a lot to me as I trained because it was a perfect example of how we’re able to help one another. I remember being in the middle of the Boston Marathon last year, and thinking the dreaded thought many runners have of “what if I quit, maybe I can just uber to Boston to meet my family…” but I quickly got rid of that idea. That wasn’t an option. I knew I was running for something way bigger than myself and I couldn’t let PJB, and the people they support, down. For those of you interested in following my training as I gear up for the race, I often post runs on Instagram (@k_giat), and you can follow me on Strava too. Donations, prayers, spreading the word, support, (and carbs!) are all appreciated over the next four months!! I am so excited to put a whole new meaning to my running and make these 26.2 miles in April extra special!! I loved seeing my community come together last year to support me on behalf of PJB, and I’m so excited to see what the next four months bring. Every little bit counts!