Hingham Runners Share Thoughts on the Cancellation of the 124th Boston Marathon

May 29, 2020 by Josh Ross and Hilary Jenison (courtesy photos)

On Thursday, May 28th, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston Athletic Association announced that the 124th Boston Marathon is canceled for the first time in its history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  While people understand the reason and the event will proceed as a virtual event, thousands of runners remain heartbroken.  Many of these runners have trained for months and will now miss the opportunity to take that right on Hereford, left on Boylston, to cross the iconic Boston Marathon finish line.

There were 37 runners registered to run the 2020 Boston Marathon from Hingham.  You likely saw many of them training through the winding streets of Hingham on one of their many training runs.   We caught up with a few of Hingham's registered marathon runners to share their perspective on the canceling of this year’s event.

Jen Kenny, Running for The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation

"Always on my bucket list to do... I was given a wonderful opportunity this year to run the Boston Marathon for a family and foundation I hold close to my heart. Training was hard yet exciting. Fundraising was even harder... but the support from family and friends was humbling. I am devastated by the cancelling of the Marathon, but understandably agree and support the decision. Everyone in our community is affected by this pandemic, we all have important events that are no longer happening. As far as doing the ‘virtual marathon’ I am undecided. I still have high hopes of running the streets of Boston one day and crossing that finish line, an experience that fuels those long cold training runs in the winter."

Elizabeth Collins Bunstein, Running for 2020 Spaulding Race for Rehab Team

"While the cancellation of the 2020 Boston marathon doesn’t come as a surprise, it doesn’t come without heartache either. There’s a lot more than just physical preparation that goes into training for  a marathon. There’s a lot of mental preparation as well. Being in a perpetual state of training has been tough on me as well as my family. These are crazy times we are  living in. So I’m trying to stay positive and be grateful for my health and my family's health.  In the meantime I’ll keep running. #Bostonstrong”

On Marathon Monday, Jennifer Cavanaugh running 15 miles around Hingham - one mile for each month she endured active treatment to cure her cancer!


Jennifer Cavanaugh, Running for Dana Farber

"I have so many mixed emotions about the marathon being cancelled. It’s hard to see something you’ve worked so hard for, trained so aggressively for, fade into the background, but I can’t say I’m overly surprised based on the past few months we’ve had and I do believe it’s the right call given the current state of affairs. It makes me sad to think we won’t be able to get out there and run the 26.2 we set out to accomplish from Hopkington to Boston. However, to me the marathon was so much more than a right on Herreford and a left on Boylston.  To me it was an opportunity to raise money, raise awareness, and pay the love, care and support my family and I received forward. In June of 2018 I received a life changing diagnosis of Breast Cancer.  My cancer 10 years ago would not have been curable, so I believe i owe so much of this next chapter of my life to the cutting -edge research done before me.  I also owe a debt of gratitude to Dana Farber.  My team of doctors and nurses were nothing short of incredible.

I so wanted to run in honor and in memory of those who we have loved and lost, those who have bravely battled the disease, and those who continue to fight daily. One hundred percent of every dollar raised supports the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. These funds are fueling some of today's most promising basic cancer research.  And, as I know all too well, it is successful cancer research that is allowing me to continue to do what I want most in this life and that is to be a dedicated, loving and engaging wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend.  10 years ago, my cancer was not curable, and now, here I am today, living proof that this research matters! It makes an impact and it’s essential to making cancer a thing of the past!

There was a specific slogan that resonated with me on my journey and that is: even the word impossible spells “I’m possible.”   My greatest hope is that the fundraising we do eventually, somehow, someway contributes to cancer being a thing of the past!  I truly believe it’s possible!

So, while I won’t be able to run the 2020 Boston marathon route with the cheering crowds, as i set out to achieve, in many ways I feel I accomplished the most important part of my mission and that was to raise money for cancer research.  My drive and dedication to this cause will never end so I’m hoping at some point I’ll tackle another marathon training plan and actually be able to run it next time! However in the meantime I believe we all need to put the health and safety of our community first! We will always be Boston strong and I with the help of others will never stop fighting until we reach the ultimate finish line - a world without cancer!"

Patty McDonald, Running for Team MR8

"What makes the Boston Marathon so unique is the chance for thousands of slow runners like myself to run on the historic course. In the past, charity runners have fundraised millions of dollars for local charities, and unfortunately, many charity runners were in the final fundraising stage when COVID-19 hit in March.  I hope folks can be generous to these runners now more than ever as they train to run the virtual race in September.

Here is the link to all of the Boston Marathon Charity Runner pages: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/2020bostonmarathon

As a charity runner, and one of the captains of the 2020 Team MR8 Boston Marathon team, I was reminded again yesterday why I initially signed up to run the Boston Marathon - to run as an ambassador for Peace for the Martin Richard Foundation.

Denise and Bill Richard formed Team MR8 as the fundraising team for the Martin Richard Foundation in honor of their son Martin who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. The foundation promotes the values of inclusion, kindness, justice, and peace, which we need more than ever during this COVID-19 crisis.

Team MR8 is a special team and within minutes of the cancellation news I received a text from my fellow Team MR8 runner and Hingham resident Patricia Burke that stated -  "You absolutely have it in you!"

Therefore, I am committing to continue my training this summer and will run the Virtual Boston Marathon on September 14.  I am sure people will see me shuffling up and down Main Street this summer and want to thank all of the Hingham residents who have supported my Team MR8 fundraising effort to date!"


Ken Read-Brown, Running for the Alzheimer’s Association

“I’ve run twenty-eight marathons, include sixteen Boston Marathons, the last seven of which I’ve run to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association in memory of my mother.  My first Boston Marathon was fifty years ago this year, so I’d been looking forward to this one in particular to mark that occasion.  I will still run the “virtual” Boston Marathon, though, to mark that 50th anniversary and to thank all those who’ve donated to my Alzheimer’s fundraising.  I’ll be mapping out a route here in Hingham to be run sometime between Sept. 7 and Sept. 14, the BAA window for an “official” Virtual Boston Marathon to be run.”


Erin and Ray Childs, Running for Team MR8

"When I first heard that the marathon was going to be postponed I was devastated. I had just completed a 20 mile run the weekend before.  I was ready, physically and mentally. The prior 17 weeks of training for me flashed fast before my eyes. The cold, cold mornings. The rain, the snow (and we didn't even really have a bad winter). Working out and training 6 days a week...it's HARD. BOY was it a hard pill to swallow. I couldn't believe it.

My next thought was HOW on earth am I going to train through a summer heat, etc...what will that look like? I was upset. At first I was all about getting out onto that course, I said to many of my friends, you'll find me in Hopkinton, I'm headed there. But as time passed and the Pandemic became more of an issue...as a member of Team MR8 I didn't want to be a person taking resources away from the Front Line where it was needed. I knew as much as I wanted it, it wasn't happening. Ray and I decided that we would run 26.2 LAPS around the parking lot of where we're living. Our girls set up a water table and our son said he would do it with us. So, on April 20th, at 11am in the morning, we stepped outside our house and put on a "sorta" marathon and had fun. It was a total of 3 miles.  I stopped running the next day.

So time (weeks) passed...and a couple of my girl friends got me out for a run. 6 miles here, 8 miles there. Before I knew it, my head was back in it. I was ready to start it back up and with every run, we would discuss HOW on earth September 14th would happen. I never thought it was possible.

Yesterday's news was extra hard for me. Team MR8 is in the final year of their Marathon teams. The Foundation will continue, but not with a marathon team fundraising. Team MR8 has been part of our family since the 2014 inaugural team when my husband Raymond joined. He's run every year since for them. After April of 2019 I decided I would run Boston in April 2020. My first marathon (and my first Boston). I was finally ready to take on a marathon. Fast forward to August and they announced it would be the final year for Team MR8 marathon running...and it was even more special. Ray and I would do it together.

So here we are. The final year for Team MR8 and I will do it virtually. Does it count?  That's hard for me to answer. Team MR8 is special. It's an incredible group of dedicated people doing all we can to spread a wise little boy's message of PEACE, Kindness and inclusion. It's never been about the Medal. I was running for Martin.

So like anything in life, we learn we have choices. I will choose to keep training, go for the 26.2 miles and remember why I'm doing this.

What does this mean for Boston 2021? HAAAA, looks like I will just have to figure out a way to do it.  My friend Amy said it best, I'll cross that finish line one way or another...and when I do, it will be even more amazing." - Erin Childs

Jeff Deady finishing his 26.2 miles, with his kids in tow, around his neighborhood back in April on the orginal date of the Boston Marathon.


Jeff Deady, Running for Dana Farber

My wife and I were planning to run the NYC half in March, then they cancelled it. My thought at the time was “well, at least they won’t cancel Boston”. Wrong. When they postponed it, I promised to run the course on Patriots Day regardless. When officials insisted people not run the course, I made my own course in Hingham. Our town is surprisingly small when you’re trying to fit a marathon inside it without doing a bunch of loops. My run tracker looks like a plate of spaghetti. So now it looks like I’ll get another chance in September to run in the Hingham Marathon 2.0. Not to brag, but I’m actually the defending champion, and I can just about guarantee a repeat victory.

I’ve run the past 7 Bostons for Dana Farber. It’s obviously one of the best charities in the world. Their work has saved the lives of several people close to me. I’m sure the same can be said for just about everyone who reads this. The original postponement delayed our annual fundraiser where we raise around $14k annually. Now we aren’t able to have it at all this year. Anyone who wants to make a donation can do so at: http://danafarber.jimmyfund.org/site/TR?px=1082032&pg=personal&fr_id=1330.

Keri Fabrizio, Running for Team John Hancock

This would have been my 4th Boston Marathon but it has been over 15 years since I last ran Boston. I was very excited to be part of the JH Boston Marathon Team in 2020 and raise money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston and the Ron Burton Training Village I had been training since January and I was up to 20 miles when they announced it was postponed. At that point, I put my training on hold and had planned to start it back up again early June.

I am not surprised to hear about the cancellation of the marathon and had expected it given everything going on right now with the coronavirus, but the announcement of the virtual race did surprise me. Although a virtual race is not ideal, since I had already done the hard part of fundraising, I have decided to take part in the virtual race to support the organizations that I had raised money for.

I have a friend that I trained with that ran 26.2 miles in Hingham on Marathon Monday and I had decided not to. He now claims he has the Hingham Marathon 2.0 route already mapped out so I no longer have a good excuse to opt out this time.  My friend claims he is the defending champion and can pretty much guarantee another victory so I need to step up to this challenge and see if I can take his title.

Looks like my summer is going to be filled up with some early morning long distance runs...nothing better to pass the time when there is not much else to do these days.

If you would like to support the Ron Burton Training Village and the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, you can do so at:

Team John Hancock 2020


Patricia Burke, Running for Team MR8

Boston 2020 would be my second marathon for Team MR8 of the Martin Richard Foundation. I run for Team MR8 because I want to support the Foundation's work to engage youth in service, foster kindness and inclusion, and build community, effecting positive change right now. Every day this work becomes increasingly more important.

When I learned that the Marathon was postponed, I was relieved that it was not cancelled, and kept on running. One of the great things about running for a charity team is having teammates. We all support one another in training and beyond. On Marathon Monday we each ran on our own a symbolic 8K and continued to look forward to September. I am very grateful to my family and friends for their continued support.

Now that this year’s marathon is cancelled, I plan to keep training and hope to run the 26.2 on my own this fall.

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