(Image courtesy Megan Cloke)
Three Dorchester residents will be donning running shoes for the Boston Marathon and for a good cause.
Aisling Grant, Megan Cloke, and Meghan Kezer will all be running for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team in the 116th Boston Marathon.
“I looked at a bunch of charities to run for, and Dana-Farber stuck out because I’ve had a lot of family affected by cancer,” said Kezer, 24, who has run the marathon three times. “The marathon is also incredible. I’ve run the Boston and Disney World marathons, and I would have to say the Boston Marathon is my favorite.”
Cloke is also familiar with the Boston Marathon, running it twice, both times for the Dana-Farber team, raising more than $18,000.
“I started running in the summer of 2009 right after my mom, Sharyn Cloke, was diagnosed with lung cancer. My parents lived in upstate New York, and I was studying for the bar exam that summer," said said Cloke, 31. "I wanted to go home to New York to help, but I was under strict orders from her to stay in Boston and study for, take, and pass the bar exam.”
Cloke said her mother's battle first inspired her to run for Dana-Farber.
“I happened to get an e-mail from Dana-Farber that week about running a half-marathon to raise money for cancer research. I figured that would be my way of supporting my mom's fight against cancer from afar," said Cloke. "After the half-marathon, I was hooked and signed up to run the Boston Marathon for Dana-Farber.”
While cancer has touched many of those running for Dana-Farber, Cloke said this year’s race is praticulary important.
“My mom lost her battle with lung cancer two weeks after last year's Marathon. I will be running this year's race with a heavy heart, not having her there to cheer me on,” said Cloke. “I also dedicate my running in memory of my sister, Kristin Cloke-Erbach, who died from cancer in 1998.”
But while the women running on the Dana-Farber team have had a lot of support, they have also had to do quite a bit of training.
“I have been training since December, and have put in several hundred miles across Dorchester and Quincy training for this year's race,” said Cloke.
Kezer also said she has been running weekly, trying to fit in her training with her busy schedule as a teacher at the Mother Caroline Academy.
“I have one day a week off, which makes it tough but I usually go running with the Dana-Farber team on Saturday and try to run around Dorchester and Franklin Park during the week,” said Kezer.
Even with all the training, Kezer said the 26.2 mile course can be a challenge.
“The most challenging part about the race is around mile 16 when you have to go over the overpass,” said Kezer. “There aren’t usually a lot of people watching at that point, where as in the last few miles there are so many people, it gets the adrenalin pumping.”
Since the Dana-Farber team formed in 1990 it has raised $52 million for the Barr Program.
Each member of the team must raise a minium of $3,500 - $4,000 for the team and those who would like to help the three women reach their fundraising goals can donate online.
For Kezer’s donation page, click here.
For Cloke’s donation page, click here.
For Grant’s donation page, click here.
Anyone interested in supporting a runner, volunteering, or joining the team can visit www.runDFMC.org or contact the the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge office at 617-632-1970.