Meet Our 2018 THP Boston Marathon Team!
Each teammate has a story.
I am a wife to my high school sweetheart (and most awesome man) and mom to our four lively kids, living in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also work as a nurse in an orthopedic surgery center. What started as a way to stay fit and burn calories, developed into not only a hobby, but a way of life.
Running regularly since 2008, this sport has provided me with a deep sense of gratitude for the God given gifts of health and peace. Running is a time of reflection, prayer and socializing. I have been chasing a qualifier for the Boston Marathon for nearly nine years, at one point accepting that perhaps it was not to be. Subsequently, I have dabbled in the sport of ultra-running, which I found to be a profoundly joyous and fulfilling type of running. Due to life and family demands, those days of lots of long runs had to take a back seat.
Little did I know that the organization that helped a family member get treatment for alcoholism in a time of crisis, would be the means for my running the race that I had been chasing. I found THP RUNS while researching articles on addiction for a work project. Already familiar with Chis Herren’s story after seeing his documentary, Unguarded, and then hearing him speak at my son’s high school, I knew The Herren Project website would be a great resource. Upon further exploration, I discovered THP RUNS had a Boston Marathon team. I immediately knew that this was the way I was to run this race… not for myself or my own glory, but as a means to assist those who struggle with addiction into treatment. Not only would I fulfill a longtime bucket list item, but I would do it for an incredible organization and cause.
With an extensive family history of alcoholism, I know the importance of education, prevention and treatment to facilitate the recovery process. What a gift and a privilege to be part of this organization and this team! I am so grateful for this opportunity!
I am an avid runner who started in high school, and eventually led to marathons. I started running longer distances as an outlet for myself until I finally worked up the courage to run my first marathon in 2009 with the help of many inspiring friends. I then set my sights on the goal to run a marathon in every state before I turn 50. The 2018 Boston Marathon will be my 52nd marathon and 39th state!
I wanted to run for The Herren Project because of my family history. My dad battled alcoholism his entire life and I watched what it did to our family. And just this past October, my cousin passed away from a similar challenge. I see what THP has done to help people live a better and happy life – isn’t that what we all want?
Boynton Beach, FL
I’m from a small town in Tennessee just outside Chattanooga. As a kid, I played junior golf all over the country, and finished high school at the International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head, SC. I went to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and worked for my family’s business for about 7 years. My drinking escalated in my early to mid-twenties and I eventually got sober in May of 2012. I packed up, and moved to Delray Beach, FL to live in a halfway house. It was the best decision I have ever made. I have dedicated my life to 12 step recovery, I’m an active member in AA and I love to help other alcoholics. I got married in 2016. I’ve built a sober network of friends and colleagues, and started a new career in the process. I work for Immersion Recovery Center, as a primary counselor, case manager, and group facilitator. My wife and I enjoy traveling, movies, and GOLF!
Running has always been an outlet for me, particularly when I got sober, as a healthy way to cope with stress. I’ve completed a half marathon, and a Ragnar Relay race, running from Chattanooga, TN to Nashville, TN with a team of 12! I’m running Boston in honor of my younger sister, and my father. Unfortunately, addiction has plagued my family for generations, and we lost both of them recently, Shanna in 2014, and Dad in 2015. My dad used to talk about running a marathon all the time, but his drinking always got in the way, and he never committed to training and seeing it through.
I’m honored to raise money for such a wonderful organization, and to play a small role in helping people across the country get the help they need.
North Vancouver, BC
After living in Boston for 24 years (and New York for 10), I moved to North Vancouver, BC 13 years ago. I watched the race so many times growing up, and returning to Boston to actually run the marathon is a bit surreal!
This is my fourth season of distance running. I started like so many others – first just walking and hiking, then eventually running, then eventually training for a half marathon. When I pinned on the bib and ran the race, I loved everything about it! So I kept going! I ran my first 100 mile trail race last October at the Javelina Jundred near Phoenix. And bumped into a few THP Runners on the course!
I guess it’s not so unusual, but I started running before I got sober. I guess I knew a change was needed, but I hadn’t yet surrendered.
I had been an isolated, “solo drinker”. I hid my habits and lived my secret life alone. It was human connection that I needed, and I have found so much of it in the recovery community and the running community.
I am honored to run for The Herren Project, and hope that our efforts can bring connection and hope to those who are out there needing it.
New York, New York
On April 16th, 2018 I will run my 3rd Boston Marathon on The Herren Project team in honor of my brother Jake – My kind, smart, goofy, resilient, talented, compassionate baby brother… my brother who is also an addict.
I’ll never know what it feels like to be an addict – most days, even 9 years later, I’m still trying to sort out what it means just to be the sister of an addict. We had a good, solid childhood. We had hard-working, supportive parents with good morals. We took family vacations and had pets. We played sports and had lots of friends and each other. We were always warm and dry and well-fed and loved.
It’s so hard to understand how his addiction works, but I try. It’s hard to not live in fear all the time, especially when drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. It’s hard to digest other’s reactions when they find out – the awkward glance down, the look of sympathy. Sometimes, I can see the “he’ll never change”, the “just another addict” look in their eyes. When I’m on the subway, I often notice the casual, easy way in which an addict’s worth can be tossed aside and it angers me… because that person is somebody’s son, maybe somebody’s brother.
Am I furious sometimes? Sad this has happened to our family? Desperate for a solution? Of course. The feeling that consumes me the most, however, is the anxiety of worrying that Jake ever doubts his self-worth. The fear that he might somehow believe that he doesn’t deserve to be loved.
But my love is unwavering, through recovery and even through relapse. Sometimes he falls. Sometimes he falls really, really hard. But every time he finds the strength to pick himself up, find help, as challenging as that can be, and work tirelessly to maintain his sobriety, I am proud.
For 18 weeks I will train. I’ll have to run when I’d rather be doing anything but. I’ll have to put in the miles through the cold, the snow and the rain. There will be times I’ll want to quit, but then I’ll remind myself that this is not nearly as hard as what he’s been through. And in April I’ll run 26.2 miles in support of The Herren Project, an organization who seeks to increase awareness on the signs of addiction and bring hope for a better tomorrow, and in honor of my kind, smart, goofy, resilient, talented, compassionate baby brother… my brother who is also an addict.
Jamaica Plain, MA
Every year I pick a new mantra to help me focus on personal improvement. Last year’s mantra was “Stop saying I wish and start doing.” This short phrase got me involved with THP Runs. I’d run in a number of races that had amazing charity partner programs, and began to feel like maybe I was missing out on something. I love to run, but thought, wouldn’t it be even more fulfilling to make those miles count by raising money for a good cause? I would often leave a race saying, “I wish I was involved with a group like that.”
Well, not anymore! I began looking for an opportunity, but what I found was my team. Running has been a cornerstone of my own recovery, along with the amazing support of my wife and family. I know I’m lucky because not everyone has the support I have, so I run for The Herren Project to help provide the resources others need to change lives for the better.
Starting my second year as a team runner with THP, there are three things that keep me going: My faith, my family, and the bagel shop girl. I’ve taken Hebrews 12:1 literally and I “run with perseverance” and with thanks for all of God’s good gifts. My family inspires me daily with their support and love. No matter what, I have an amazing team on my side. The bagel shop girl was a woman who saw me wearing my THP shirt at a bagel shop after a race. She said THP had helped her, and she thanked me. I hadn’t done enough to earn her thanks but I’ll keep running for her, and others like her, so they may build a better future.
South Boston, MA
Almost 2 years ago I was visiting some of my college teammates in South Africa when I found out that Adam, a very close childhood friend who was practically a cousin of mine, had lost his battle with addiction. Immediately my heart broke for him and his family and I began to feel guilty that I was on the other side of the world, unable to express my condolences and celebrate all of the good memories we had together. This opened my eyes to the unsettling reality that addiction is more common than many people realize, especially in young adults, and this disease does not discriminate. I knew that I wanted to do something in memory of Adam, so I started researching and that is when I first stumbled upon The Herren Project. After reading about this incredible organization, I knew this was the best way to raise awareness on the signs of addiction and to hopefully help prevent another family from going through the pain of losing a loved one.
Two years later and I am on my 4th race as a THP team member. Boston will be my first marathon ever (go big or go home right?) and I could not have picked a better group of people to add to that memory. I am privileged enough to be on this team with such incredible individuals who inspire me on a daily basis and inspire others to change their lives for the better. I may not know what it is like to be an addict, but I do know that nobody should have to go through that fight alone. Running has become therapeutic for me and although I never considered myself a runner (I swam and played water polo – so being coordinated on land was never my thing) I have come to love it! Something tells me it has something to do with the remarkable people I have met along the way and knowing that I can help to make a positive impact on someone else’s life.
Time to lace up, but as always this one’s for you Adam!
Running took on a whole new meaning for me when I lost my husband to addiction in August 2015. I was approaching 40 years old and had set a goal for myself to run a marathon before I turned 40! I set my sights on my hometown race- the Baltimore Marathon. At the same time that my training commenced, my husband was also completing his final (and last) attempt in rehab and about to enter recovery. Unfortunately, I lost him to an overdose 7 days later. Ironically enough, I had reached out to The Herren Project the night before he passed. PURPOSE! That is how my running changed. It provided me with purpose and offered a healthy outlet for healing.
I am committed to sharing his story and ending the social stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction.? I feel it’s important for me, and as I raise our 7-year-old twins, that they understand the importance of asking for help and giving back. While they may be too young to understand now, they will come to recognize and understand the importance and why Mom runs. In fact, it’s so important to me, that just two years later I’m training for the 2018 Boston Marathon even though it will test my resolve on many levels.
Since Matt’s passing almost three years ago, I am realizing that his story relates to many. I have met and had amazing conversations with people sharing their stories, struggles or triumphs.? I have found that it’s important to share. The more I share our story, the more people realize they are not alone with dealing with addiction and mental illness. It can impact anyone…even the most secure and loving families. I am learning that each time I share, I find myself at peace with everything. It doesn’t make losing Matt any easier, but it helps to not feel alone, and that my feelings are shared by many.
This is more than just running for me. I am committed to making a difference and helping to facilitate change.? Partnering with The Herren Project just makes sense.
I ran the Portland Marathon in Oct 2014, after giving birth to twins in January 2014. I was so happy to be running and off 5 months of bed rest, I didn’t want to stop! Only problem was…I lived a double life. I am an alcoholic, have been all my life, but things really took a turn after the twins were born. These beautiful little babies did not care that I drank too much the night before. They were awake at 5 AM and wanted so many things from me.
I decided to run the Portland Marathon, because alcoholics can’t run marathons. Not true. It can be done. I had my drinking/training schedule worked out perfectly. At the finish line, I cried in defeat and unhappiness. I had accomplished nothing.
To everyone I was a supermom of twins, marathon runner and multiple sclerosis warrior…what can’t she do? Stop drinking. I could not stop drinking. The next year was hell and the rock bottom on which I now build a solid foundation. After countless failures, I decided to seek treatment. I surrendered.
I found my higher power and I discovered gratitude and service of others. There isn’t anything I would not do for my sobriety. I have peace. I have freedom. I can sit on the floor and play legos with my 4-year-old twins and want for nothing, except to be in that moment.
I learned about The Herren Project while in treatment. I could not believe it when I read about their Boston Marathon team, a race I have dreamt of running. I truly believe my higher power put this in front of me and I am meant to run the Boston Marathon for THP as a sober and proud mother in recovery. I admire the work THP is doing and I am honored to be a part of it.
I have been surrounded by addiction my entire life. I have family and friends whose lives have been devastated by deaths resulting from the addiction to drugs and alcohol.
I was an active alcoholic since my first drink at the age of 9 years old. My first “official” attempt at getting sober at 18 years of age was 30 days in a Vermont rehab – I wasn’t ready to surrender at such a young age. After years of struggling and the loss of my son, I hit a bottom I couldn’t get up from on my own. In 2004, I went to treatment at Gosnold in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and the foundation for my recovery was laid. As most of us do, I continued to struggle for a time, but on Jan 1, 2018 I celebrated 10 years of continuous sobriety! I have an intimate understanding of The Herren Project and Chris Herren himself…and I believe in all it stands for.
I also believe that anything is possible if we stay sober one day at a time and try to carry this message of hope to others. Today I am a sober father and husband to a wonderfully beautiful, sober wife. I decided to apply for a spot on The Herren Project Runs Boston Marathon Team, was accepted, and now hope to finish and spread the power of recovery and THP!