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Local Woman Running 2020 Boston Marathon as Charity Runner

Anne Evans Anne Evans Local Woman Running 2020 Boston Marathon as Charity RunnerKristen Foley, right, during a race in Columbus. Photo by Danielle Elias.
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It has been Kristen Foley’s dream to run the Boston Marathon and the race was a focus of a vision board she created in early 2019.

“The one thing on that board that stood out like a sore thumb to me was to run the Boston Marathon,” she says. “I know in my heart that I will NEVER qualify for the Boston Marathon. Even with two marathons and 25+ half marathons in my back pocket – my knees, my age and my overall speed will never get me to that coveted age-range qualifying time.”

Foley started running seriously in 2010, when she completed her first half marathon.

“Before that, I had only run a handful of 5ks,” she says. “After that first 13.1, running officially captured my heart and I got more serious. It never gets easier, but you do get better. Once that half was done, I was ready to do another.”

She tried a full marathon the next year, and just kept going. In 2013, she ran thirteen half-marathons. With the dream of participating in the Boston marathon feeling out of reach, Foley began researching what it would take to be a charity runner for that race.

“I thought that if I could apply that same passion and dedication to becoming a charity runner than I would succeed.”

Kristen Foley, right, with her father, Tom Foley.

In early February, she began researching the 43 charities that offered spots in the Boston Marathon and one stood out to her – The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“In 2014, my dad was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia,” shares Foley. “Imagine knowing you have cancer running through your blood, but there is no current treatment for it early on. Not until the disease progresses. If he would start treatment now it might only make him sicker and could affect his prognosis.”

So, they are waiting.

“But imagine if we could fight it right now,” she says. “Imagine if we were able to knock out cancer at stage 0.”

The chance to run for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society could help her with her dream of running Boston, and help fund research so those who receive a diagnosis like her father may be able to start treatments as soon as the diagnosis is made. Foley submitted her application and was accepted as one of the thirty-six runners on the LLS Team in Training, becoming the first team member from the Central Ohio area. She will run in the 124th Boston Marathon on April 20, 2020.

The fundraising commitment is a minimum of $5,000. Foley set her minimum at $15,000.

“The financial commitment was daunting but as I started to plan out what I could do, it seemed more and more obtainable with a lot of hard work and great connections,” she says.

Since becoming a part of the fundraising team, Foley has held many different kinds of fundraisers, ranging from raffling fun and limited edition items, to partnering with Central Ohio Nurtur Salon locations on their #tipforacause program for February, hosting a Tupperware Fundraising Brunch with the famous Dee W. Ieye, partnering with the Short North Candle Lab on March 24, and more.

As of this writing, she has pushed her goal to $25,000 and is 77% there. The Boston Marathon Official Charity Program was started in 1989 and since that date, the program has raised more than $250 million.

Runners in the 2019 Boston Marathon. Photo courtesy Boston Athletic Association.

Foley is a first time Team in Training teammate and has also been nominated as a Rookie Challenger.

“The rookie who raises the most money in the fiscal year will be the National Rookie Winner,” she says. “But anyone who raises $25,000 will be listed in Forbes Magazine and will receive a Circle of Heroes medal.”

The Columbus Eastside Running Club is helping her train for the race.

 “I always turn to those coaches, who are also my friends, for the best advice to help me reach my goals,” she says. “I am truly honored to be part of Team in Training because the spots are just as coveted as those that are for the runners who have qualifying times.”

“While this whole endeavor started because it was something on my vision board, it’s quickly become not about me,” she says. “It’s about how I can make a difference for all of those individuals who are currently battling this disease. How can I help bring to light their fight and what is needed.”

To help Kristen Foley reach her fundraising goal for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as a Boston Marathon Charity Runner, visit her fundraising page.

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