By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Northborough/Grafton – People run for many reasons. People run when they are being chased. Children run while playing tag and other games. Many run for exercise and that euphoric “runner’s high” that we so often hear about. Marathon runners are in a class by themselves. They are extremely dedicated and train hard and run to be a part of something big.
Many cities have marathons but there is truly something special about participating in the Boston Marathon, whether you are a runner, volunteer or simply a spectator.
Northborough resident Alison Cosgrove, a teacher at the North Street Elementary School in Grafton, has been training for the Boston Marathon for months. She is running with nine others for a charity called Project Hope. Her fundraising efforts have already exceeded the $5,000 amount required thanks to the generosity of friends and family. Marathon rules state that you either have to qualify or run for a charity.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be associated with this charity,” Cosgrove said. “Volunteering is so important. Being able to give time in some way sets such a good example. Giving back is contagious. It sets a tone for the next generation.”
Project Hope is a nonprofit organization founded in 1981 by the Little Sisters of Assumption. The organization, located in Roxbury, provides low-income women with children access to housing, education, jobs and emergency services.
“As an educator myself, I believe this is the most important piece,” Cosgrove noted. “No one can get out of a bad situation unless they are given the proper tools. All these people want is the best for themselves as well as their children. They just don’t know how. That’s what Project Hope does. The money raised will help these women and their children with housing for one year. Even after that time, they will never be disassociated from the program. There is a team of people including mentors and facilitators who are always so supportive. Each day, there is a goal that needs to be met.”
While volunteering with Project Hope, Cosgrove spoke to at least 15 of the women who all shared common situations. They were either in an abusive relationship or they had lost their jobs. They were not simply looking for a free ride and just want a fresh start.
For the upcoming Boston Marathon, Project Hope was assigned 10 runners. Cosgrove and the nine others have since bonded and are looking forward to the challenging distance run that lies ahead on April
Cosgrove resides in Northborough with her husband, Andrew, and two children, Ethan and Mia. Her husband is an avid runner who has previously run in the Boston Marathon twice before. Cosgrove started running three years ago as a way to keep up with her athletic family and get in better shape. While she keeps challenging herself, she has never looked back.
“I’m in awe that I’m doing this so I will just try to soak up every second,” she said. “I can’t believe over 30,000 people do this and now I am one of them! It’s something I have watched my entire life and I am looking forward to crossing the finish line and saying, ‘I just ran the Boston Marathon.’ Just knowing that I am doing this for such a worthy cause makes me feel wonderful.”
Anyone wishing to donate to Cosgrove’s efforts, may visit www.crowdrise.com/ProjectHopeBoston2016/fundraiser/alisoncosgrove.