Boston Marathon Profile – Chris Benestad
By Jeff Slovin, Contributing Writer
Region – Chris Benestad of Northborough, 36, coach of the Cradles to Crayons charity team, and running his 15th marathon and eighth Boston Marathon.
If you are fundraising, what organization are you raising money for?
I am not fundraising this year, but I am the coach of the Cradles to Crayons charity team. There are about 12 runners raising money for C2C, and I help them with training plans and advice for the marathon. We go on group runs once a month. It is a nice organization that does great things for kids in Boston and Worcester.
Why are you running Boston this year?
After finishing Boston last year and being close to the explosions, it was time strange time for me. I was completely safe, but had family and friends that were near the explosions when they occurred. However, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness for the victims. I have a son the same age as Martin Richard and the sadness for his family and the loss of life of such a young boy was hard to handle. Also, it was not long after the Newtown, Conn., incident, so those feelings were all too fresh in my mind.
What does running in this year’s marathon mean to you?
This is our race, it is Massachusetts’ day to celebrate the best and oldest marathon in the world, and it was attacked and stopped. I thought nothing could stop this race. It will mean a great deal to me and my family to cross the start line in Hopkinton and the finish line in Boston on April 21. It will mean that the victims and their families, the [Boston Athletic Association], the city of Boston, the runners and the spectators all have overcome great challenges. There is a tremendous amount of emotion that goes into training for a marathon. The early mornings, late nights, cold weather, long runs, hard workouts all take a toll on family life. Add to that the emotions from last year and what happened. I can’t tell you how many times I have found myself worked up with emotion while training for this race. There is a greater cause this year than just a personal best. There is the feeling of overcoming the fear of terrorism. There is a feeling of solidarity. I can’t wait to be there in Hopkinton with all the runners and families and friends.
To me, this race is about family and friends. My brother and brother in law and I train together. I have running partners that all train together and we race together. My younger sister has run Boston a few times. This year, my older sister is running Boston for the first time. My wife and kids go to Cleveland Circle to watch and then pick me up at the finish. They pick me up on long training runs, they support my training completely. My boys have grown up in a Boston Marathon household, and they have been to every one I have done. I hope one day my wife and boys get the opportunity to run Boston with me.
To learn more about Cradles to Crayons, visit http://www.cradlestocrayons.org/.
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