Original Runners

Shirley Jacobson

I wish I could say that the reason for running the race is for raising lots of money for worthwhile causes. Though I have given to various charities over the years, the reason I run this race has been more of a self-serving endeavor. I’ve had a reputation for being too much of a caregiver, like so many women of my generation – too other oriented, too often guiding my choices for others needs or my decisions from others point of view, at the expense of my own. My two children were in pre and full adolescence and I was beginning “middlesence,” taking care of myself by jogging in the early AM with two women friends through my suburban hometown of Wayland. Then enter the scene, a women’s race in downtown Boston. What could be more fun! It was such a great feeling starting that race, never mind crossing the finish line for the first time in my life!

I’ve wondered about the genetics (as well as the endorphins); could there have been a predisposition to that new interest of mine? En route home from the first race, I stopped to visit my elderly widowed mother in Brookline. I had not told her about my new hobby as she always thought I was taking on too much. I confessed what I had just accomplished, only to learn that my father had run the Boston Marathon in 1908 when they were courting. Several cousins, nephews, nieces and my own son, now 45 are all serious runners as well. Another family related and another self-serving factor is the issue of my birth order. I was the youngest of six children, born 21 years after the eldest, I was often excluded from the older kids privileges. Running the race all these years has been an inclusive and special family like experience. The cheers of all the families and friends of all the runners all along the route, especially of those who have run every year along with me, have been felt as cheers for me. It’s such a special feeling. I have to return every year. I am definitely much slower now, but that only gives me more time on the road feeling special!

The race has just been an amazing experience. I love the high you get from the spectators – it is just pure fun!