So many moments make up a marathon. All uniquely personal, but when looked at together they truly embody what it means to #BeBoston. Help Kristin reach her fundraising goal and make it her moment.
Kristin, with two of her TGMF teammates.
Kristin and her husband Tom, with Glen on their wedding day.
Each Marathon Monday for the past five years, Kristin Donahue has run with her friend Glen in her heart, collecting moments along the way that honor him and his fellow fallen servicemen and women.
This will be my 5th consecutive Boston Marathon in honor of my friend Glen Doherty. Glen, a former Navy SEAL, was killed during the rescue of several American citizens in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. He gave his life defending the freedoms we relish as Americans; he is a true American Hero.
I have experienced so many remarkable moments on this journey for Glen and the Foundation that bears his name. As both a runner, and team organizer I am honored to be raising money to support other American heroes, like Glen. We provide scholarships to Special Operations soldiers in order to help them successfully transition to civilian life. Glen struggled with leaving the highly specialized and intense work as a military operator. We want to give others the chance to come home to their families and friends and take on a new career.
My first Boston moment for Glen was at the finish line in 2013. The Boston Marathon was the first official fundraising effort on behalf of the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation, 7 months after his death. My husband Tom and I were the team. Tom grew up with Glen in Winchester, MA where they had been fast friends since the 2nd grade. Tom and Glen shared a passion for athletics and competition. It was so fitting to be raising funds in Glen’s honor, in his home city through the active pursuits that he loved. Tom and I had run Boston twice when Glen was still with us. We considered it our duty to run again in his honor.
We crossed the finish line in 3:55, a respectable sub 4:00 time that would do Glen proud. So many emotions filled us, unlike our last marathon 15 years before. Tears of sadness over losing our friend, tears of joy after finishing 26.2 grueling miles, and overwhelming happiness for the opportunities we would be bringing to other Special operations soldiers and their families. 8 minutes later we were still in the finish chute on Boylston when the first bomb exploded.
We held Glen in our hearts that day at finish line but he had our backs just as any good soldier would.
5 years later I still carry the torch as team organizer for the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation. Glen just won’t let me quit. There have been defining moments in building this team that keep me motivated and striving to build our scholarship program to its greatest potential.
- I am motivated by our scholarship recipients. To date we have awarded 20 scholarships to Special Operations soldiers to assist them in careers from aviation and business to medicine and public policy. Letters from thankful wives and the appreciation extended by recent candidates for supporting the Special Ops community keep me focused on our fundraising and awareness.
- I am motivated to keep Glen’s spirit alive. Glen had a love for life, an infectious smile and an ability to make friends wherever he went. Notes from Glen’s close friends and family keep me uplifted during the long winter training weeks in all sorts of New England weather. Friends of Glen are grateful for our efforts to remember and honor him. Neighbors and other friends that never knew Glen send notes of encouragement and support for my race as well as my cause. They all understand the need to support our military and give back. They see the small sacrifice that I am making of my time and training/fundraising efforts and realize that it is SO small in comparison to the sacrifices our service men and women give to us every day.
We are now 6 weeks away from Marathon Monday. There are three key moments that will define the end to this journey:
- Training – finishing the Hop 21! I always have my sights set on the final long run from Hopkinton to Heartbreak hill. We join the ranks of Charity Teams and hit the buses early in the morning at BC. Some years it is snowing sideways, others it is balmy. But the energy level is ALWAYS high. I have met some of the greatest people on the ride out and on the course in. We are all running for worthy causes yet I am always inspired by the runners around me and the stories that will bring them to the finish line.
- Camaraderie over a common cause – During training runs, fundraisers and race weekend dinners Team GDMF bonds. I strive to have at least one friend of Glen and a military member on the team. We get to know each other better over the course of the training season and share our individual motivations for running. It is especially fun for those that knew Glen to share stories to the runners that may never have met him. There are lots of laughs and “small world” connections made. Our camaraderie personalizes everyone’s cause and brings another Team GDMF Boston into the Foundation’s family fold.
- Race Day – Boston is special, period. It has a vibe that no other marathon can match. The energy extends from Hopkinton to Boston, from exuberant fans to helpful volunteers, and that energy brings home thousands of runners, qualified and charity alike. This Boston energy gets us all to the finish line over a very challenging course. Running for Glen puts Boston in yet another category. Turning the corner from Hereford onto Boylston is a moment that no marathoner will ever forget. Turning the corner to make sure Glen is never forgotten is even sweeter.