UPTON, Mass. - When Jackie Kelley crosses the starting line of her very first Boston Marathon, she will be running with her father in mind.
“My family thinks I’m nuts sometimes but they are very supportive of me,” said Kelley, 31, who is running to support the Daniel E. Coella Scholarship Fund. “This is my first marathon and it’s the Boston Marathon.”
In her bid to raise $2,602, Kelley is determined to run her way to her goal by way of the Boston Marathon. Her goal is to help fund the Colella Scholarship, given to any Hopkinton High School senior who is planning to attend college, has participated in extracurricular activities or community service, and has shown financial need.
It was Kelley’s father, who had been diagnosed with melanoma, which spurred her on to start racing.
“I’ve been running for years, since college in 2001,” she said. “You do need to do something, find some way, to be helpful. My first race was a half marathon that I ran with a charity group for my dad who was sick with cancer.”
Kelley’s father has since passed.
“I’ve always liked running but the key is running with a group of friends and having a support system,” she said.
Kelley found that when she joined the Tri-Valley FrontRunners, who train together during the week and take longer runs on the weekends in preparation for the big race on April 15. The Frontrunners run many races during the year, including 5Ks, 10Ks, and half-marathons.
The team has several members running in the Boston Marathon with numbers given to them by Colella’s Market in Hopkinton, which donates space to the governing body of the Marathon, the Boston Athletic Association, for Marathon day activities.
The runners have already begun to ramp up their mileage in anticipation of the race.
“We’re doing longer runs," Kelley said. "We’ve done 18 miles.”
Kelley and her group of supportive running friends have even run Heartbreak hill, an ascent in the 26.2 mile course that comes between the 20- and 21-mile marks that has long been dubbed as a place where “runners hit the wall.”
Training is a huge part of Kelley’s running regime as she trains for the race, but her focus is square on the supportive shoulders of her running mates.
“When you find a support group, it makes something you think is impossible, possible," she said. "I thought the same thing. And now I’m running the Boston Marathon.”
Donations can be made by check (and a note including Jackie Kelley’s name) to:
Colella's Market, Attn: Dale, 61 Main St., Hopkinton, MA 01748
The Daily Voice is profiling local runners who are running the Boston Marathon for charity. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to have your story told.