These fine folks are getting ready for the Boston Marathon

If you didn’t know, we’re not exactly the kind of guys who would (or could) run 26.2 miles – let alone do all the training to actually complete a marathon.

That’s why we choose to write about people who make a conscious decision to put themselves through what we can only imagine is a considerable amount of pain and sacrifice.

But kudos to all the runners who make that kind of commitment, especially when they do it for a good cause.

Now we know that there are probably lots of runners from Concord and Bow who will be toeing the start line in Boston on Monday, but it’s not like we can talk to everyone. So through emails sent to us and subsequent conversations, we caught up with three runners who will make the journey from Hopkinton (Mass.) to Boylston Street.

Meredith Stidham is vice president of community impact at Granite United Way. A few years back, she helped launch a reading program in the Merrimack Valley School District.

For Stidham, this is her first time running Boston because she’s spent the better part of the last seven years trying to qualify.

“I totally caught the marathon bug,” Stidham said. “And I really wanted to challenge myself to qualify.”

In all, Stidham ran 11 marathons (including one at 17 weeks pregnant) before she finally reached the required time for her age bracket in Hartford, Conn., in October 2015. And not only did she surpass the time (three hours and 35 minutes), but she crushed it by 10 minutes.

Since she qualified so late in the year, it was past the cutoff for last year’s marathon, which meant she’d have to wait until 2017. So instead of continuing her training, Stidham and her husband had their second child. That’s right, seven months after giving birth to her daughter, Stidham will run Boston, while raising money for the Granite United Way endowment fund.

“It really helps that my husband is a marathon runner,” she said. “It’s a bit of a puzzle to figure out who’s running when. I run a lot in the dark.”

They also have a 25-year goal to run a marathon in every state.

Qualifying was the first step, acceptance into the field was next, and the fundraising aspect came later.

“Just because you qualify, it doesn’t mean you get in. I knew if I wanted a good shot I needed a 3:30,” Stidham said. “It’s probably one of the sweetest emails I’ll ever get.”

As of late last week, Stidham had raised about $16,000 and is hoping to add to that total before Monday.

“We really hoped we’d reach $26,200 to match the 26.2 miles,” Stidham said.

She wants to take in all the sights and sounds and only has two goals for the day: To finish is less than four hours, and take pictures with her family – after Heartbreak Hill.

For more info, visit  graniteuw.org/annual- campaign/endowment.

Jr Linden didn’t pick up running until 2 years ago and will be taking part in his second Boston Marathon.

Linden is running as part of the Credit Unions Kids at Heart team, which has a goal of raising $400,000 each year for research endeavors at Boston Children’s Hospital, with a focus on pediatric brain research for Moyamoya Disease, Sturge-Weber Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and brain tumors.

“I just thought the work those doctors are doing is so valuable,” Linden said.

So far, Linden has raisedclose to $29,000 and is hoping to surpass the $30,000 mark before running. He will be running in memory of CJ Buckley, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 17 from a brain tumor. He met Buckley’s parents during a visit to Boston Children’s, where his mom, Lucy, is a doctor, and it just seemed like the perfect person to run for.

“I felt like I needed to give back to this family,” he said.

It’s a far cry from when he used to hide in the woods during training runs as a young soccer player.

“Now I can’t live without running,” Linden said.

As for his goals?

“To finish is my ultimate goal, but if I have the opportunity I’d like to beat my time from last year, even if it’s by a minute or a second,” Linden said.

For more, visit fundraise.childrenshospital.org and click the link for Boston Marathon.

It was looking like it might come down to a last-minute decision for Jeremy Woodward. His wife, Brook, was pregnant with their third child and it just so happened that her due date was Marathon Monday.

Luckily, his third daughter Isla Jane, came a little early, and now Woodward can run without worrying his wife will go into labor as he navigates the course.

For a third straight year, Woodward will run as part of Tedy’s Team, the one created by former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi.

“I’m really looking forward to what this year is going to bring,” Woodward said. “I’m just going to go out there and enjoy it.”

Woodward has raised close to $12,000 this year, bringing his three-year total to about $40,000.

And no matter what happens on race day, Woodward is ready for it. You kind of get used to the elements, especially when your longest run happens during a big snowstorm.

“It’s been what it’s supposed to be for a New England athlete training outside,” he said.

For more, visit honor.americanheart.org and click the link for Tedy’s Team.

Author: Tim Goodwin

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