Six years ago I became a runner. I was at my heaviest at over 200 pounds and decided I wanted to do something for myself. I wanted to get into better shape and running was how I was going to accomplish this. To help get myself motivated I signed up for a race. I figured "heck, if I'm paying money for something I don't want to just throw it away. I'm going to sign up for a half marathon," and that's exactly what I did. 

I very quickly fell in love with running. The determination, perseverance and dedication it took pushed me beyond any limits I could have ever imagined. Something deep inside me was lit. Not only was I using running to better myself, I was able to use it as a means to get the people I loved and who meant the most to me in this crazy world together,  my closest friends and family. After my races we would (and continue to) all go out to eat and this was/is time I truly cherish(ed).

 After my first half marathon I started thinking about my second. After my second I then started asking myself "Could I possibly run a full? Could I get myself to actually do this twice all at the same time?!" 26.2 miles seemed like an eternity, but if you know me then you know I am not usually  one to shy away from a challenge. I soon began researching how I was going to make this happen. Which race would be my first and what would be my finish time goal. I picked my race (Smuttynose in Hampton, NH), started my training and set my goal. I told myself I was going to finish that race in under 4 hours. 3 hours, 59 min, and 38 sec ended up being my final time. I couldn't believe it. With my first race now behind me I couldnt help but think, "what next?!"

When you become a runner and getting out on the open road becomes such a huge part of your life there is only one race in this world that matters. BOSTON! Any one who runs marathons knows that running in Boston is the ultimate goal. Boston is the mecca of the running world. It is what we all wish to achieve in our lifetime. For those of you who may not know, there are only two ways one can get into Boston. Fundraising and running a qualifying time. My wheels slowly began to turn and my bucket list just got a little bit longer. I was going to earn myself a qualifing time and I was going to get in. 

Fast forward 5 years and in that time I have run 5 marathons. Last October I ran the Portland Maine Marathon. I went into that race knowing I needed a finish time of 3 hrs and 40 min. Anything under that would better my chances of qualifying for Boston. That day I ran with a little extra spring in my step. I don't know why or how but on that day, October 2nd, I felt like nothing could stop me. Crossing over that finish line is still fresh in my mind, as if it just happened yesterday. My legs almost immediately cramped up and before I could even see my finish time down I went. I knew however that something special had just happened. 

That day I ran the 26.2 miles, but I didn't do it alone. It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago when everything started to make sense to me. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. My best on that race day was good enough to get me into Boston this upcoming April, and though I am completly ecstatic about making this dream of mine come true there is more I need to do. This is where I reach out to all of you. 

As I mentioned earlier, there are only two ways someone can get into Boston. My goal from the very beginning was to quailfy based on the time I needed. With that bucket list item now complete, I wish to set another goal for myself and complete the task of fund-raising. I have found something I am good at. Running changed my life. Now I would like to use my running to help benefit the lives of someone else.

You see there is a very special man by the name of Christopher Foley. In the short time I knew him, Chris made such a profound impact in my life. Though my story is personal one thing I can share with you is that this man changed my life. Chris' caring, compassionate and yet very humble ways make him like no other person I have ever met. Chris reached out to me during some of my toughest and darkest days and for that I will be forever thankful. I will never be able to repay Chris for all he did for me, but one thing I can do is use this one in a lifetime experience to hopefully make things a little better for his family.

I now understand why on October 2, 2016 I ran the Portland Maine marathon as well as I did. It wasn't so I could get in to Boston. That race went the way it did because something greater was going to happen. I was going to do more than just run Boston in 2018. When someone cares about you and changes your life, the least you can do is to one day return the favor. 

Though my goal is set at $5000, I am hoping to far exceed that. Those who know me know I don't settle for the bare minimum. The drive inside me pushes me further than that and I am hoping that through the support I receive from all of you I will be able to make a significant difference in the lives of this family whose huband and father changed mine. 

A very sincere thank you to all of you who took the time to read my story all the way through.


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Paula Dubois 
Concord, NH
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