Stefanie runs BOSTON!

Can't wait to be one of those Boston Marathoners!
On April 18, 2016 I will join thousands of runners to make the famous trek from Hopkinton to Boylston Street, a feat that is probably one of the harder things I have chosen to do in the past few years (aside from that whole childbirth thing, but even that is negotiable).

The Boston Marathon is the marathon; whenever I tell people that I have run marathons the first question  is always "have you run Boston?", to which I always let them down by telling them I have only been a decades long spectator. This year though, I get to change that, and I get to do it by running for an organization who is dear to my heart and helped solidify my identity as a Bostonian.

Let me take you back to the beginning.

I moved to Boston in 2005 for two main reasons: a new adventure far away from my hometown of Reno, Nevada and to attend school at Suffolk University and pursue some sort of career where I could help people. At the time, the goal was people who had been incarcerated, perhaps in the prison system, but I was open to anything. I moved into an apartment I had only seen pictures of online with a significant other who would last less time than the year lease. To say things were difficult that first twelve months in Boston is an understatement. I was three thousand miles away from my family, my friends and most everything I knew about life and was completely on my own in life. So, I had to make a new one, and I got to choose the way I wanted it to look. The world was my oyster, so they say.

That year was my hardest ever. A broken heart, a full time job, my first year in grad school and trying to navigate myself around a new city, so when someone at work told me about a trip they were taking to New Orleans to help the ongoing cleanup efforts after Hurricane Katrina, I jumped on it. I knew I needed a break from my life and what better time than spring break before my first round of finals. That trip changed my life in a lot of ways; it made me fall in love with New Orleans, which I have blogged about extensively, but it also made me realize the importance in my own life of giving back and the sense of purpose that helping others provides. It also introduced me to a little organization called Boston Cares, who had already been to the volunteer house and left a shirt on the wall of fame. If ever there was a sign, it was in that paint splattered shirt that had me signing up for a volunteer orientation as soon as I got home.

I have distributed  hundreds of meals at the Red Cross Food Pantry, served dinners at the New England Center for Homeless Vets and The Boston Living Center, helped socialize kittens preparing  for adoption at the MSPCA and read to kids awaiting doctors appointments at the Mattapan Community Health Center. But for as much as I have given of my time  I have gotten back tenfold.
I have made lifelong friends, got to know more of the city than the neighborhood I lived in and witnessed the joy that one person can create by being an active part of their community.

It is for all of these reasons  that I am honored to run  the 2016 Boston Marathon to raise money for Boston Cares to directly support their program and staff and continue to make sure that the organizations they provide  volunteers to (my own included!) can keep benefiting from people like me who feel a call to volunteer.

Oh, and about running that 26.2 mile course....

I will never forget pouring out of Fenway Park my first Marathon Monday watching the runners go by and thinking to myself "well, that's the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen someone choose to do". A lot has changed in ten years, folks. I myself have run two marathons, six half marathons and hundreds and hundreds of miles "just for fun". It has given me discipline, confidence and the ability to manage this crazy life of mine and now, I get to do it for a cause!

Please consider making a donation, however big or small, to this awesome organization that truly helps Bostonians to be the change you wish to see in the world. And be sure to follow along here as I I blog about my journey across that famed finish line.

Thank you, from the bottom of my Boston loving heart!
Spectating one of my husband's years doing Boston with a new baby.
After the BAA 5k with Mrs. Mallard.

Crossing my first marathon finish line with my BFF and coach.

With my favorite cheerleader after the BAA 10k.


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