I am so incredibly excited to announce that I am running the 2020 Boston Marathon with Team Brookline on behalf of the Brookline Center for Community Mental Health! Although the Marathon has been postponed until September 14th due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our fundraising efforts and my training have not stopped. Please see below for some information on the important role The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health is playing during COVID-19:
Many organizations, news outlets, government leaders, and policy experts are discussing the far-reaching mental health impacts of the pandemic. Four out of five Americans say that the COVID19 crisis is impacting their mental health. The Center’s clients are among the most vulnerable in our community and the number of individuals and families who fall into this category will skyrocket as the health and economic impacts of the virus continue.
Funding from the marathon is especially critical this year with the cancellation of the Center's annual gala, which provides close to $400k for our local children’s mental health services (50% of our work, close to 2,000 kids each year) and our statewide BRYT program.
The Brookline Center’s primary focuses during this time are preserving and increasing access to mental health care services and taking care of staff. As an “essential business,” the Center is keeping its main office open and staffed by a clinical core team for clients with acute needs. Meanwhile, all Center clinicians have been fully trained in delivering telehealth visits, and clients are taking advantage of these offsite services to continue their care.
Keep reading to learn about my story, including why running the Boston Marathon has been a dream of mine, and why I am fundraising on behalf of this fantastic organization!
I started running in spring 2012. Since that time, I’ve run a number of half marathons, marathons, amassed close to 6,000 miles, and gone through many pairs of shoes. Early on in my running career, I started with setting goals to run three miles, then five miles, then ten miles, then a half marathon, and eventually - I decided I wanted to run a marathon. About four years after I ran my first mile, I crossed the finish line of my first marathon, the 2016 Coastal Delaware Running Festival. It felt like a dream come true. I had put so much work into doing this one thing, and it had paid off.
During those four years, my Dad retired and picked up running himself. For a man that hadn’t done much running throughout his life, he really took to it quickly. Running became the thing that we most shared in common. Running comes up almost every time we’re together – typically what races we’re thinking of running, how training is going, etc. After my Dad ran his first marathon, he set his sights on the big one, the Boston Marathon. My Dad was born in Worcester, MA, and my family visited Boston every year when I was growing up to go to a Red Sox game. Boston is my favorite city in the world, and I spent two years living in the area. Over the years we often discussed how special it would be to cross the Boston Marathon finish line together, but it honestly seemed like a pipe dream. Then, in April 2019, my Dad accomplished his goal and qualified for the 2020 Boston Marathon! At that point, I decided that if we are ever going to cross the finish line together, it probably was going to need to be 2020. However, I still needed to cut 32 minutes from my marathon time to qualify. So, I decided to look into fundraising options for running the race.
During my time in Massachusetts, I lived on a street that is part of the Boston Marathon course - Beacon Street in Brookline. I would run up Beacon and think about all of the runners who had run the same route during the Marathon, and it would fill me with a sense of pride and love for the city of Boston and my fellow runners. When I came across Team Brookline during my search for fundraising options and read about the work that they help support, I knew this was the team for me. Team Brookline is the Town of Brookline’s official Boston Marathon team. It is comprised of runners who train together for the Boston Marathon while raising funds for five partner charities that play an integral role in strengthening and enriching the Brookline community: The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health, Brookline Education Foundation, Brookline Library Foundation, Brookline Symphony Orchestra, and Brookline Teen Center. I will be fundraising and running on behalf of the Brookline Center for Community Mental Health.
The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health provides mental health care and community-based social services that help individuals and families lead healthier, safer, and fuller lives. The Center opens its doors to every Brookline resident, regardless of ability to pay or severity of condition. Additionally, the Center offers mental health care and community services without regard to race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, age, sex and fluidity of gender, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic, immigration or veteran status. As someone who has struggled with multiple aspects of my mental health, I know firsthand about how difficult it is to even begin the process of addressing it, the barriers to finding the proper care, and how much that care can cost. As such, the mission of the Center is very important to me.
Throughout my own mental health struggles, running has been a constant positive in my life. I suffer from generalized and social anxiety disorder. My anxiety can cause me to overthink everything, but when I’m running, I clear my mind and it’s just me and my feet hitting the pavement. I also suffer from depression, and running is an invaluable outlet that allowed me to remember what it feels like to be alive, and how far I’ve come and much farther I can still go. Finally, I’ve been struggling with a combination of anorexia and bulimia for around ten years. When I started running years ago, it was just another way for me to burn calories and lose weight. But over time, the running itself became more important than losing weight. I realized that if I wanted to effectively train, I needed to eat. Running curbs my disorder. It is a healthy way for me to see my body in a positive light. For all of these reasons, I am incredibly proud to be fundraising for the Center and supporting other people on their own journey.
It took a village to get me to where I am today. Issues with mental health are not something that we can combat alone, which is why the work that the Brookline Center for Community Mental Health is performing is so important! Every little bit that you can contribute is going directly towards people who need a helping hand most. When I cross the finish line in 2020, hand-in-hand with my Dad, it will be because people like you have supported me over the years throughout my journey, and you’ve donated to help support someone else on their own journey! Thank you!
Learn more at www.teambrookline.org.
My running playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6xDYBTq5oQ6AHbUPjBXNFB?si=JcC55YITQwOIl5vPCpwjlQ