By Chris Villani
Henry Marshall has always wanted to take on the challenge of running the Boston Marathon, and the Mendon resident will get his chance next month when he sets off on the 26.2-mile trek to raise money for Boston Children’s Hospital.
“I’ve always been a runner and I played sports in high school and club sports in college, and I felt like this would be a good time to try to run Boston,” Marshall said. “I did an interview with Boston Children’s and I was selected and received a bib number and I’m really happy and excited that I did.”
Marshall has never run a marathon before, but he’s been grinding through the winter months, piling up the miles in anticipation of the upcoming race.
“It’s definitely challenging,” he said. “You have to respect the distance and the weather has been tough with the snow we’ve had. I ended up having to do one of my 13-mile runs on a treadmill.”
But Marshall is looking forward to taking part in the world’s most famous marathon, especially because he will be raising money for a place that is very special for him. Marshall has been a patient at Boston Children’s since he was a freshman in high school battling Crohn’s Disease. He still receives treatment at the hospital, even though he has graduated from Nipmuc High and Bentley University.
“I wanted to give back,” Marshall said. “I have seen a lot of sick kids and I wanted to try to help out people who are in worse shape than I was. That was my inspiration for running.”
Marshall said he has been grateful for the backing of his family and his girlfriend during the months of training for the event. He’s primarily been running on his own, but said he planned to join some of his teammates running for Boston Children’s for the 19 and 21 mile runs that will mark the peak of his progressive training program.
The former football and lacrosse player at Nipmuc said he is not looking to run especially fast, but he’s looking forward to embracing the marathon day experience.
“I’m excited to see the energy of the people cheering,” he said. “I’ve watched the Boston Marathon before, but it’ll be different to be on the road and feel the excitement.”
Marshall pursued graduate studies at Boston College, so he will also have the chance to run past the BC campus. He said the finish line on Boylston Street is probably going to be emotional.
“First of all, there’s the fact that hopefully the money I raised made a difference,” Marshall said. “And second, it’s a huge milestone and a long race. I’ll be happy that I did it.”
To contribute to Henry’s fundraising efforts, log on to Fundraise.ChildrensHospital.Org/GoTo/Henry.