I have a standing invitation every Friday morning to go running with a fabulous group of Wellesley women. They’re the accomplished types who run committees, run the PTO, run corporations, run their own households, run toward a challenge, and/or run the Boston Marathon. Me, I don’t run. “Come and walk, then. There are always some who walk,” they say.
So every now and then I join this Couch to 5k crowd, especially on holidays when the group starts and ends at Wellesley’s own Wonder Woman Carol Chaoui’s house. I know there will be snacks on hand and a a fun group picture, just perfect for The Swellesley Report, where the crowd is dressed to kill in crazy clothes. Carol runs the type of home where if you show up without the requisite St. Patrick’s Day shamrock tights or a fake beard (that’s me), well no worries. She’s got a basket of emergency holiday attire on hand, just for the occasion.
It’s always a blast to roam the streets of Wellesley Square with a group of 25 crazies who put their hands up in the air like they just do not care. Contractors beep their horns at us, wondering when Wellesley suddenly got so fun. We wave to them, half delighted, half embarrassed that this is what it takes these days for men to beep their horns at us — tall shamrock hats and goofy behavior.
After our jaunt we congregate at Carol’s house, taking in twice as many calories as we just burned off, circulating around the downstairs rooms, marveling at her latest mid-century modern end tables, or her most recent one-of-a-kind accessory. Her house is a touch of Cambridge, mixed with a dash of Paris, plunked down in Wellesley. No tasteful palette of neutrals here, no trendy minimalism. The house is full of bright colors, and fun people, and exuberance. It’s also the home of a strong lady who undergoes cancer treatments at Dana Farber by day and trains for the Boston Marathon by…well, I’m not sure when she has the time to do that, but Carol makes it happen.
On April 16, Carol plans to run her tenth Boston Marathon, and her fundraising monies will go to Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Chaoui says on her page, “I am dedicated to raising funds and awareness for Stage IV breast cancer and hope to reach my goal of a total of $350,000 by May 1st. I am about $100,000 shy of this goal.” You can donate to her efforts here.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Wellesley. And to those of you in town who are running the Marathon next month, may the road rise up to meet you, and may the wind be always at your back, as the Irish blessing says.