The Road to Boston
by Kelly Cartus, LMT
My road to Boston was a long one. It started in December, 2019, when I was notified by Massage Therapy Foundation that they wanted me to part of a team of four to represent them in the historic Boston Marathon, April 2020. My commitment to them in order to have the privilege to run the marathon was to fundraise $12,000 for the Foundation. Both the marathon and the fundraising goal seemed like daunting tasks, but I do like a good challenge!
I quickly enlisted the aid of my husband to help in both the fundraising and the training (he has long been my coach for all my crazy running endeavors), and together we came up with a plan. We wanted to raise the funds as quickly as we could so that I could then focus solely on the training. Between us, we have many spokes in our wheels in which to reach out for donations and support. We are so very fortunate to have generous families, friends, clients, and so many others from the various segments of our lives. We were able to raise the funds by the beginning of March, 2020. That brought me to the final five weeks of training until the big day. Things were looking good, I was feeling good. And then…hello pandemic. As we all know, the world came to a screeching halt.
The marathon was postponed until September, 2020, then ultimately cancelled for the calendar year. There was so much uncertainty as to what was going to happen next. I continued to maintenance train until further notice. I kept in communication with the foundation and my team members (there were four of us, one from Chicago, IL, one from Seattle, WA, one from Los Angeles, CA). Finally, the race was re-scheduled for October, 2021.
It was, at times, a very tough journey for me. I was working more than ever, performing more massages than ever each week. That is very exhausting in and of itself, let alone add in training for a marathon. I suffered a few annoying injuries along the way (fractured foot, a couple back issues, a shoulder injury), and I sometimes struggled with motivation and mojo. There was always uncertainty lurking in the wings…will the marathon actually happen, will it be postponed again, will my body hold up? But I plugged along, and in June, 2021, I embarked on an intense training plan. I wanted to be strong from start to finish. After all, I was running THE Boston Marathon, the pinnacle of marathons.
I ultimately logged over 1900 training miles, I have run in early mornings, lunchtimes, later in the evening, and sometimes more than once a day. I have run in a myriad of weather conditions, as only Buffalo, NY can offer! You name it, I have run in it! I have done a lot of groaning, sighing, crying, perhaps a little swearing. But always I remembered my purpose: to represent and raise funds for the Massage Therapy Foundation, the wonderful foundation that promotes/conducts/supports research, educates, does community outreach, and basically validates my chosen profession of being a licensed massage therapist.
There was so much encouragement and support along the way from everyone involved with the foundation. Under the leadership of Marla Gamze, Development and Communications Manager at MTF, we had many Zoom calls, communicated with others who have come before us in this journey, learned the history of the pairing of MTF and John Hancock, the charity program partner of the Boston Marathon, ultimately met the person who started the program. A huge THANK YOU to Mary White, LMT, for spearheading this!
I was humbled and honored to be doing this. I did, indeed, cross that historic finish line on Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts, on October 11, 2021. I finished strongly, I had a smile on my face, I felt so proud. And once I got my finisher medal and my husband placed it around my neck, I cried so many tears of joy. What an incredible experience! My long journey of running for charity, running for research, had come to a very happy and satisfying end for me. I am so very lucky and grateful.
Congratulations Kelly! From your AMTA-NY Family