The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon, and also one of the most well known road races in the world. And this year, 17 Norwood residents are participating in the demanding but very rewarding experience.
Originally a local event, the marathon has now become one of fame and status, attracting runners from all over the world. The first race in 1897 had a total of 15 participants, and now that average figure hovers around 30,000.
Norwood resident Tom Ahearn is one of those infamous runners, and he has always had a passion for the race.
“Growing up, I remember watching the marathon at Boston College and thinking to myself, ‘maybe one day I will do this’” Ahearn stated.
Twenty-two years ago, that time finally came, when he ran the Boston Marathon for the very first time.
The year before the race, as chance would have it, Ahearn was traveling around Europe. He met a man named Keith Sheehan, who happened to live in Newton, MA. They began talking, and the two found a kinship in their love of running. No numbers were exchanged, but the two parted ways as general acquaintances. That was until the next summer, when Ahearn and Sheehan showed up to run a random road race.
“We ran the race and hung out after, and quickly became best friends," Ahearn explained. "Keith was actually the one to talk me into doing the Boston Marathon."
Ahearn's father died of cancer in 1980, so as he learned more about the race and how he could do it while raising money for cancer, it became clear that he had to run. Now, he is adamant that it is one of the best things he has done in his life, and loves being a part of a great group of people who are running for a great cause.
Cancer research, however, isn’t the only association people raise money for when running the Boston Marathon. All different organizations and charities are contributed to, as all different walks of life partake in the race. Runners find something they are passionate about, and they fundraise to help it succeed; and when thousands come together to give back, a unique connection is formed.
Along with the 30,000 other men and women in the race, on Monday, April 16, Ahearn will run from Hopkinton to Boston, for a total of 26 miles. It is no easy feat, and it takes dedication to make ensure qualification for the event. This means, training three days a week, and building up running lengths each day.
To qualify, a runner must first complete a standard marathon course certified by a national governing body that is affiliated with the International Association of Athletics Federations (the governing body of all athletics). This must be done within a certain period of time before the date of the desired Boston Marathon, which is usually 18 months prior to the race. The age qualification is 18 years and older.
‘Marathon Monday’ as the day has become nationally recognized, is a day that celebrates friendship, charity, and love. For Tom Ahearn and thousands of others, it has turned a passion into something that spans generations.
Good luck to Norwood Residents in the 2018 Boston Marathon!
BIB Name Age
18474 Bille-Volkenborn, Stephane 58
28885 Rooney, Sean 38
25638 Ahearn, Thomas 54
1545 Ditocco, Mike 24
27704 Chellappa, Muthu 38
317 Curley, Stephen 25
25895 Nichols, Karen 60
26231 Kalinowski, Cayla 23
16639 Myers, Roberta 52
15205 Quinn, Elissa 35
29896 Heitke, Marshall 24
27446 Saad, Cassandra 25
28477 Marshall, Taylor 26
631 Danforth, Lee 39
30637 Quinn, Keelin 29
28275 Martin, Terence 35
18466 Hair, Kathleen 42
27468 Cosgro, Paul 28