Amanda Blanchard’s birthday celebration is going to be a little delayed this year because her mom Amy, a Wenham resident, is a member of Team Hoyt. Blanchard will be running the Boston Marathon to raise money to help fight cerebral palsy, which will mean cake will have to wait until after Amy finishes the race.
On an impulse, Blanchard decided last fall to run the Boston Marathon in 2011. She didn’t even tell her husband until after she had committed to run the race, which winds its way from Hopkinton to Boston on April 18.
Blanchard, runner number 23118, will join thousands of others later this month in the 115th running of the nation’s most famous long-distance road race.
“I just thought I would do it," Blanchard said last Monday from her classroom at the Beeman Elementary School in Gloucester. “It’s for a great cause, and I said I’d do it, I’m going to do it, and it’s been great preparing for Boston.”
In addition to her husband and Amanda, Blanchard’s other three children Ashley, Adam and Andrea, will also be rooting hard for mom on April 18. Blanchard is a reading specialist at the Beeman School, and is the director of the at the . She also teaches Sunday school at in Hamilton.
“I had a touch of plantar fasciitis, which was tough,” Blanchard said. “The people at the Running Company in North Beverly have been great. They had me switch shoes, to a pair of Ghosts by Brooks, and I’ve been able to do my roadwork more comfortably.”
In addition to getting some comfy shoes, Blanchard is incredibly grateful to the people who have jumped in to support her and the other 17 members of Team Hoyt.
“I had hoped to raise $4,500 when I started out, but people have pledged $7,900 so far, it’s astonishing,” Blanchard said.
“I drove the course last week, putting water out along the way, and timed myself when I ran it later,” Blanchard said. “It went well, I ran the course in about four and a half hours, so I’m hopeful for a good showing when I have to run for real."
Blanchard is picking up running tips from Uta Pippig, the three-time women’s marathon winner has been coaching Blanchard and the other members of Team Hoyt.
Dick Hoyt, who just turned 70, will be pushing Rick in his modified wheelchair again this year. They've been doing Boston together since 1981, and Blanchard is honored to be a member of Team Hoyt.
“They are such good people, and such an inspiration, I’m grateful for my ability to walk, and run, and this whole experience has been great, even if it’s a little overwhelming at times,” Blanchard said
Does Amy plan on continuing her running career after this year’s Boston Marathon?
“Oh yes, I’ll keep running even after Boston,” Blanchard said. “My kids say I’m much nicer after I do my road work.”