By Jeff Slovin, Contributing Writer
Region – Northborough resident Meredith Kent, 39, running her fifth marathon, as a member of the Cradles to Crayons Marathon Team.
How many marathons have you run?? How many times have you run Boston?
I have run four marathons. Two Boston (2012, 2013), two Chicago (2010, 2011).?This will be my fifth marathon, my third Boston, and most likely, my last marathon.
If you are fundraising, what organization are you raising money for?? How much have you raised??
I have run all of my Boston marathons as a member of the Cradles to Crayons Marathon Team.? I’ve been lucky to raise over $15,000 for this organization as a member of their marathon team.? This year, I am just about at $3,000.
If you ran Boston last year, what was your experience with what happened?
Last year was a very emotional and surreal experience.?I’m not sure I can articulate the range of emotions that I felt that day, and in the days [and] weeks that followed.?What I do know is that they will all come flooding back this year; they’ve already started.?The day was absolutely incredible – perfect weather, wonderful running experience, saw family and friends along the way; it was everything I hoped it would be. I was stopped at mile 25.7 or so, along with hundreds of others.?We weren’t sure initially what happened, but slowly word got through the crowd that there had been an explosion at the finish.?I began getting in touch with family [and] friends, mostly via text and Facebook because it was difficult to get through on the phone lines.?My husband had just been getting off the [Mass] Pike, near the finish, when he heard that something had happened. It took a while, but we eventually connected in the city and headed home, where my parents were back in Northborough with our children and my sister's family.?They had heard about the bombing while having ice cream at Uhlmann's, after spending the day in Newton and watching me pass at about mile 18.?There was a time period where none of us knew what the others were going through, that was probably the most difficult part of that time.
My experience could have obviously been so much worse and I’m grateful for the fact that I was not faster that day, that my husband wasn’t quicker getting to the finish, and that he didn’t bring our girls with him.?I also think often about the victims of the bombing and their families, and all of this serves as a reminder that I have an absolutely incredible opportunity to run this year and ‘take back’ what was taken away from so many of us last year.
I finished my race two weeks later, with a friend who had also been stopped.?My husband surprised me at the finish with a big group of family and friends, all of whom traveled from Northborough and beyond to meet me at ‘my’ finish. It was amazing and emotional.
Why are you running Boston this year?? What does it mean to you?
I had planned that last year would be my last, but when I was offered the opportunity to run this year, I knew I HAD to run. This is an opportunity that many people never get and this is a special year.?We are all running to take back what was lost, what was scarred last year.?I couldn’t imagine NOT running.?The training has been more difficult than ever, for a number of reasons, but I just can’t imagine not running this year.?I feel like I have a responsibility to myself, to my family, to all those impacted by the events last year, to have the best possible race that I can have.
Do you have an interesting marathon related story you wish to share?
I was never a runner until shortly after I had children. I quit my high school track team about one week into the season because I hated running. I became the manager for the team, a position that I held all through high school from that point on. I decided to get ‘into running’ as a chance to have a goal to strive for, to challenge myself, and quite frankly, it was selfish: I wanted some time to myself.?Even though I achieved this, running has actually gave me more time with other people, has brought me closer to so many people in my life, and has offered me the chance to make wonderful and incredible new friends. I’ve gained more from these experiences than I ever imagined.
To support Meredith Kent, and learn more about Cradles to Crayons, visit her fundraising page: https://cradlestocrayons.fundraise.com/merediths-marathon-fundraiser