Workout Inspiration: Do it for a great cause

I’m running my fourth consecutive Boston Marathon in a few weeks – my third with a wonderful charity I got involved with to honor the life of a dear friend and coach in the Boston area.

Yes, I love running "just because." It's a sport that fits my body and personality. But running for a "cause" makes it even more meaningful. (Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Yes, I love running “just because.” It’s a sport that fits my body and personality. But running for a “cause” makes it even more meaningful. (Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I’ve mentioned him once before on this blog – his name is Martin Duffy and he ran forty (yes, that would be 4-0!) consecutive Boston Marathons from 1970 until 2009. The most astounding one had to be his final race – because he was running two months after a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma that would ultimately claim his life in late 2010. It was a cold and windy day, but he pulled it off. I ran the last 10 miles with him (a bunch of friends and family members jumped in to support him at various points) and I remember how hard those last few meters were on Boylston Street, and how happy he was afterwards. (“A ray of sunshine in a hard two months” he said after the race. It was an amazing achievement – one of the great running memories I’ll ever have.)

Running for a cause = Making a commitment

When you sign up for a big race, you’ve just committed yourself to a training program. But when you sign up for a charity race, you’ve committed to helping somebody else, too. That person – or that cause – is depending on you to be all there: organized, healthy, getting your fundraising and training done (in the midst of everything else that life throws at us), and of course, showing up ready to go on race day.

I run Boston to support the Massachusetts General Hospital’s pediatric oncology programs. Martin was treated at MGH by some of the finest oncologists around – and I understand they did some pretty amazing things to prolong his life as long as they could, as long as he could live comfortably.

When I went to his memorial service in Belmont, MA in December 2010, the place was packed. His oldest friend’s eulogy began like this: “I know you’re all here because you think you were Martin’s best friend. Well, you’re not. I am.” And we all erupted in laughter, because he was exactly right. That’s the kind of person Martin was.

I'll never forget the track workouts Martin led on Wednesday afternoons. He made running fast feel like fun. (Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
I’ll never forget the track workouts Martin led on Wednesday afternoons. He made running fast feel like fun. (Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

He became a father figure and a role model. I trained with him and his motley crew of runners at the Harvard track on Wednesday afternoons when I lived in Boston a decade and a half ago. He modeled good life behaviors without ever lecturing.  He was spot-on about life, and people, and the importance of keeping a sunny outlook in the midst of life’s slings and arrows.

So, I run for him. If you’d like to support this endeavor, I would welcome your support. You can click here to donate, or if you’re the non-website type, email me (contact information at the bottom of this page) and I’ll get you an address where you can send a check.

I’ll be raising a minimum of $5000, as I do every year, to support the MGH pediatric oncology programs – they use the money to pay for staff positions, patient and family support, and a host of related services. And the doctor who heads up the department is the founder of the marathon program – and he runs the race every year himself.

If you’re looking for workout inspiration, why not go out there and train for a great cause?

Yesterday’s #every48 workout: SWIM – a one-hour triathlon swim class – Tuesday is sprint day. Ouch. 60 minutes.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s