Running a marathon may be an arduous task, but Doreen Cronin has always drawn strength from the people around her to push through whatever hardships may reveal themselves.
For her first crack at the Boston Marathon, Cronin ran in 2014, the first year for the race following the terrorist bombing that shook the city to its core. Running as part of the OneFund team, she was staggered by the energy and enthusiasm on display throughout the entire race. And seeing those injured in the bombings only inspired Cronin to keep driving from the starting line all the way to Heartbreak Hill and past the finish.
Now, for her second bid at Boston, Cronin is running as part of Team Tufts in support of the Tufts Medical Center. This time, the cause is even more personal for Cronin. Tufts is not just any medical organization; it is the medical organization that saved her son’s life when he was brought low by a bizarre illness.
Michael, then 12, was manifesting a high fever and was hospitalized on an IV drip for three days while the team at Tufts Medical Center worked to find out what was ailing him. It was eventually discovered that Michael was suffering from a strange strain of Lyme disease.
Cronin has raised over $4,000 for the team and hopes to at least crack $5,000 before race day. Fundraising has been difficult this year, and Cronin has noticed aches and pains throughout training that had not been present when she was last gearing up for this marathon.
But no frustrations and no hardships keep Cronin away from the run. To hear her tell it, running under the mantle of Team Tufts is a constant inspiration to keep moving and keep working.
“When you’re in pain or you feel like you can’t go any further, you think about the kids who may have illnesses or cancer,” Cronin said. “It really helps you move, because there are kids in the hospital who maybe can’t even walk.”
Nor is Cronin work alone. There are 52 other members of Team Tufts, and the team trains with the other charitable groups, 19 in total. Doreen estimates that these charity teams constitute well over 200 individual runners.
“I’ve never experienced being part of what’s called a marathon coalition,” Cronin said. “We have a team of four coaches, and they’re training 19 different charities. We all meet at the Baptist Church in Newton Center. We meet in the basement of that church every Saturday and the coaches give us our little pep talk and we go out on our run.”
The training has been arduous, with weekly runs adding distances until reaching a peak distance of 18 miles in one run. The distance was reduced the following week to ‘only’ 13-14 miles, only for the runners to then be handed their longest run yet. In late March, the coalition was bussed out to the Hopkinton start line and ran all the way to Heartbreak Hill.
“That was the peak of training,” Cronin said. “From then on, we still have some long training runs but it has been tapering off.”
Cronin has been documenting the entire process on her blog, which you can find at https://doreens2016bostonmarathon.wordpress.com/, which also provides a link to her donation page, and the postings reveal that her high spirits have maintained throughout the entire training process, bolstered as she is by the team, the challenge, and the knowledge of how much good can come of this race.
“You have to stick with the training. There are so many people that will approach me and they will say, ‘There’s no way I could ever run a marathon,’” Cronin say. But she does not accept that rationale. “If you stick with the training, anyone can run a marathon.”