BWH runner Sheila McLaughlin powered through the last four miles to the finish line.
The raw, rainy conditions at the 119th Boston Marathon proved no match against the three extraordinary running teams from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).
After training through a brutal winter that dumped more than 108 inches of snow on the Boston area, the 103 men and women running on behalf of BWH were more than primed to beat the weather—and every single one crossed the finish line.
“I was actually excited when I saw rain on the forecast,” says BWH runner Peter Payack. “After the winter we had I said, ‘Bring it on!’”
Payack was one of 58 runners on the Life.Giving.Breakthroughs. Team, which rallied support for transformative research and care programs across the hospital. While running, he kept in mind his two favorite people that he connects most with the BWH’s mission.
“My mom has been a nurse at the Brigham for 40 years, and my dad has been a long-time patient here,” says Payack. “They have been a great source of motivation for me, and were never far from my thoughts.”
The 35 members of the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Team banded together to fundraise for groundbreaking trauma research and clinical programs that will help trauma patients like Gillian Reny, a Boston Marathon bombing survivor, step strong again.
Additionally, 10 friends and BWH colleagues ran in memory of the late Michael J. Davidson, MD, raising more than $80,000 to support the fund benefitting his family.
Runners from each team drew inspiration from the 30,000 fellow runners sharing the course and hundreds of thousands of spectators cheering from the sidelines.
“It was such an adrenaline rush the entire time, I felt like I was feeding off the crowd’s energy,” says first-time BWH marathoner Laura Mark. “They really carried me through those last seven miles.”
For Sheila McLaughlin, crossing the finish line put an end to two years of unfinished business. In 2013, her first year as a BWH Boston Marathon runner, she was stopped before she could complete the race. Last year, she became ill while running and had to stop in the last stretch of the route.
“This is my first time finishing the race, and I’m still processing it all—it’s such an emotional experience!” says McLaughlin, who is a research financial specialist at Partners HealthCare. “I always heard that if you can run a marathon, you can do anything. It’s true—it’s the most amazing feeling.”
Partnering with the Boston Athletic Association Boston Marathon Official Charity Program, the BWH teams have collectively raised more than $750,000 so far. Many runners were inspired to run for causes close to their hearts: conquering cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and supporting advancements in trauma research and care.
“All our runners showed so much strength and dedication this year,” says Caroline Duncan, manager of the BWH Boston Marathon program, who worked closely with the marathon teams every step of way for more than six months. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. Seeing their smiling faces on the course made all the grueling days of training in the snow this winter worth it!”
BWH President Betsy Nabel, MD, says, “Each of our runners—and all of the participants today—truly exemplify what it means to be Boston Strong.”
See more photos from the 2015 Boston Marathon on our Facebook page. It’s not too late to give to the BWH Marathon Teams! To make a gift, please visit https://www.crowdrise.com/brighamwomensBoston2015.
Already thinking of joining the 2016 Brigham and Women's Hospital Marathon Team? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.