A few dozen Wellesley-ites are registered to run the 2020 Boston Marathon on April 20. Some have qualified by running fast times in previous races, while others are running to raise funds for charities in Wellesley and beyond.
Here’s a form you can fill out if you’d like us to include your Boston Marathon profile (including fundraising site) here.
Runner: Lynda Nijensohn
Charity: Dana Farber
Why this charity? It is where I was treated for cancer.
How many Boston Marathons have you run? 9
Fun fact about your running: Breast cancer survivor running 10th marathon
Runner: Tom Crehan
Charity: War Memorial Scholarship
Why this charity? We need smart, moral people in our military and well rounded, educated voters in our populace.
How many Boston Marathons have you run? 0
Fun fact about your running: My mantra is “Motion not Miles”
Runner: Betsy Waisel
Charity: Wellesley Friendly Aid Association
Why this charity? A Wellesley native, I watched the marathon every year growing up. As a child, I felt in awe of the large crowds and runners dressed in bright colors. As I got older and started running cross country and track for WHS, I watched and hoped that I could run one day, too.
I currently live in Indianapolis, Indiana, where I teach high school English as a member of Teach for America. Every day, I see the incredible potential my students have, and I see the barriers they must navigate to reach it.
Wellesley Friendly Aid combines my connection to Wellesley with my deep love for education. WFA is a community-based, non-profit organization that has been serving families of Wellesley for 110 years. Not only does it provide scholarships for youth summer and academic programs, support ESL services, and grant families financial aid in critical situations, but its Wellesley Connects program matches high school students who will be the first in their families to attend college with mentors who work with them throughout the college application process. Programs like these help students reach their fullest potential. Please consider donating to this amazing cause!
How many Boston Marathons have you run? None. This will be my first time running Boston!
Fun running fact: In 2014, I ran the last mile of the marathon course in the BAA Mile race for Wellesley High School. I am excited to return to Boylston Street!
Runner: Karen Haddock
Charity: Wellesley Scholarship Foundation
Why this charity? I’m running for the Wellesley Scholarship Foundation for the second time since 2017. As a career educator, I feel that people become truly educated after they’ve completed high school. Making post-secondary education affordable for students in our community keeps me asking friends, family, and businesses for donations to WSF while I train outside this winter.
I ask you to join me in remembering a teacher or mentor who encouraged you. Please support my run for WSF and make a gift to honor that person. Like that teacher/mentor, be someone who paves the way for another to step confidently into adulthood.
There are many runners raising money to help students in the Wellesley schools each marathon season. We are all running for significant causes, and I’m supporting some of them in addition to WSF. I’m running for WSF because once students in Wellesley’s schools have graduated, many of them who want to carry on their educations are still facing 67% unmet need after the schools have awarded their scholarships. That number makes it difficult to afford continuing one’s education.
Let’s do something about that, you and I. Let’s meet that need!
How many Boston Marathons have you run? 3
Fun fact about your running: The older I get, the more confidence I have.
Runner: Brian Cody
Charity: Friends of Wellesley Free Libraries
Why this charity? We are so fortunate in Wellesley to have a great set of libraries across town. As a lifelong learner, I am thankful for all that the Friends of Wellesley Free Libraries do to support otherwise unfunded library programs and resources (for example, museum passes, children’s storytime, middle school and teen clubs, music concerts, author lectures, and the fish tank)!
How many Boston Marathons have you run? None. This will be my first!
Fun fact about your running: Although I’ve been running for 28 years, I only recently started running longer races. I completed my first half marathon three years ago in beautiful Woodstock, Vt.
Runner: Sam Steere
Charity: Wellesley ABC
Why this charity? The Wellesley ABC program provides academically talented young women of color from underserved communities “A Better Chance” through enrollment at Wellesley High School. Wellesley ABC supports and nurtures these young women as they make the hard decision to leave their homes and families, move to Wellesley, Massachusetts, and pursue their goals to reach their fullest academic potential. I graduated from Wellesley High School in 1994 and not only were many of the ABC scholars in my classes, many of them were my friends. I’m thrilled to be running in this year’s race, but even more excited to be running on behalf of an amazing organization. I find it incredibly motivating to think that my running efforts will directly benefit the studies and futures of the ABC scholars.
How many Boston Marathons have you run? 3 – 1995, 1996, and 2000. Sam only ran officially in 1996 (his birthday and the 100th anniversary). You used to be able to bandit run and since he grew up in Wellesley that was always appealing.
Fun fact about your running After running cross-country in college and my early 20’s, my running career came to screeching stop when I shattered my right big toe in 2002. I had reconstructive surgery on my toe, which also required a bone graft out of my heel. My surgeon said it was worst broken toe he had ever seen. In 2009, I had to have surgery on this same foot twice more to remove a pinched nerve. For the past 18+ years, I would watch the marathon go through Wellesley and think I would love to do that, but I can’t. My wife, Meg Steere, and CrossFit coach, Ronda Rockett, started to change all that in 2017 when I started doing CrossFit, which also involved running. This was a great life lesson – my friends and family had more faith in my ability to get back to a high-level of fitness than I did. It’s interesting what your mind will tell you you can’t do. Since December I have run over 200 miles and am feeling good!
Runner: Anna Garcia-Miller
Charity: Wellesley ABC
Why this charity? Meg Steere, who volunteers with the ABC program, contacted me and asked if I wanted to run for ABC. She knew I wanted to give the Boston marathon another try. I had to give her an answer quickly so I seized the opportunity. It feels good to run with purpose. Raising money for a local charity is very rewarding.
How many Boston Marathons have you run? 1 – I ran the Boston Marathon in 2016 right before I turned 40. It was my gift to myself. I started running after I had my 3rd child and I discovered that it really helped my head space. I like the challenge of pushing myself physically and mentally. I’m better mom when I run 🙂
Fun fact about your running: I got injured training in 2016 so even though I crossed the finished line I knew I could do better and always wanted to try it again. I have approached training differently this time and have been spending a lot of time getting stronger. I only run 3 days a week. It’s been tricky to schedule my long runs on Saturdays but I have managed to do them in between my kids sports. Some Saturdays seem like a marathon themselves, trying to fit everything in. I’m am very fortunate to have very supportive husband and kids. Everyone steps up to make sure all things get done. My main goal is to not get injured training. Running injured in 2016 was not fun and recovering took longer than I expected. I have learned to embrace being uncomfortable. you are never alone if you make friends with pain 🙂 I am humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity of our community.
Runner: Laura Smith Dziama
Charity: Team Inspire 26.2 Foundation
Why this charity? I love everything about this charity! We are raising money to support the first ever International Marathon Center in Hopkinton as well as a statue of the great Bobbi Gibb near the starting line. She was the first woman ever to run the Boston Marathon! I am running in honor of my brave mother who is currently battling brain cancer. She found out about her diagnosis just before I was accepted to run the Marathon with Team Inspire. She is my inspiration.
How many Boston Marathons have you run? 3
Fun fact about your running: I started dating my (now) husband, Justin Dziama while coaching him through his first Boston Marathon experience, I jumped in the race at the end and we crossed the finish line together. We now have two sons ages 2 & 5, the rest is history 🙂
Runner: Ellen Banthin
Charity: Project Hope
Why this charity? Project Hope, located in Roxbury, supports homeless women and their children. They provide housing, job training and essential childcare to women and families in need.
How many Boston Marathons have you run? 11
Fun fact about your running: I have run over 30 marathons and 2 ultra marathons.
Runner: Mercedes Leboreiro
Charity: Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress
Why this charity? My daughter Mila Toffling is blessing to our family; she is our first daughter and the first granddaughter in the family and happens to have Down Syndrome. We are lucky to have such a wonderful little girl who is strong, determined and above all, very lovable. She has changed the way we think about Down Syndrome and disabilities in general. The Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress offers top-notch programs and services for people with Down syndrome, their families, health care professionals, and the community-at-large. With the money raised, the MDSC can continue to fund important programs and services in education, research, and advocacy for those with Down syndrome. Your support will help other families who are going through the same journey as we are and need the help and support of MDSC.
How many Boston Marathons have you run? None. This will be my first Marathon experience.
Fun fact about your running: I have 2 I would like to share: 1. Love the feeling of both of my feet being off the ground. 2. My daughter Mila started running when I started training for the Marathon and has made a big difference in both of our lives. We are each other’s cheerleaders.
Runner: Bob Rochelle