Boston Marathon Ambassador Spotlight

ambassador spotlight

The Boston Marathon tomorrow and, given our roster of elite athlete ambassadors, we have quite a few running it. We are excited to profile some of these hardworking, inspirational and good-hearted runners. Included: a 24-time Boston Marathon finisher, speedy race goals of 2:36 and 2:38, several great causes and much more.

Gary Allen – Bar Harbor, ME

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon?
This will be my 25th Boston Marathon. My first was in 1979 and I believe I have qualified for every year since (38 years) but only competed in 24 of them.

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
Competing in the Boston Marathon is a complete privilege. I like to think of it as the common person’s Olympic Games.

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
I live and train in Maine. The majority of my lifetime miles were run on a small off-shore island called Great Cranberry Island. The main road is only 2 miles long…I guess it’s surprising how good you can get in such a small place.

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
Breathe and take it all in.

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
Duh! DRINKmaple before, during and after. Oh, and probably a cheeseburger after, too!

Katie Dolaher – Boston, MA

1) Is this your first time racing the BostonMarathon? If not, what number?
This is my 7th time running Boston.

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
Since this is my 7th time it is one of the most important times of the year. My Christmas pretty much. The challenge is what I chase and to me there is no bigger feat than this race. My goal is to inspire others daily and this is truly what inspires me. The essence and spirit of Boston and the passion of runners taking every step to cross that Finish Line. What I say to myself constantly “it’s what you endure that makes you stronger”.

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
Castle Island sometimes – as a full time fitness instructor I am constantly training and logging miles. I like to get lost on long runs and see how far I’ve gone.

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
YES. Run your race. Run in YOUR moment. Take every single moment in. Get in your groove but don’t let the crowds get the best of your pace. Reserve that energy for the turn of your life. Hit Hereford hard and get that photo finish you trained for!

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
Besides all the things that are edible?? Definitely a cheeseburger, pizza, and probably more cheese. I keep it real. Drinking – duh??? Maple water! And a stiff Titos soda!

Christopher Battoo – Boston, MA

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon?
This will be my 5th Boston Marathon in a row.

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
Running the Boston Marathon means so much to me and the community of Boston. Boston has been my home for the past decade. My first race ever was the 2013 Boston Marathon and I was close to bombing site – like 50 meters away – near the medical white tent. I had stopped running after 2013. But when the time came, I started back up because I wanted to run in 2014. Boston Marathon is the world’s most prestigious marathon; it means strength, OVERCOMING FEAR, and believing all things are possible.

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
I run with Greater Boston Track Club for my daily long and short runs. My favorite training routes are 15 mile tempo, Kenmore Square to Newton Fire Station and back to Boston, and my 8 mile tempo on Wednesday on the Charles River around the Museum of Science and back to Boston. It’s worked for the past 3 years. I’m working for 2:36 this year if it’s not too warm!

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
Get lots of sleep the weekend before even if it’s just naps during the day. Elevate your feet at night, eat lots of sweet potatoes and brown rice pasta 4 days out, drink at least 2-3 maple waters 4 days before the marathon to ensure great hydration. Beet/maple water smoothies are the best. Take the first 5 miles easy in the race, for 5-15 pick up the pace, 16-21 don’t think about the hills it will drive you nuts, run your own race, think of the hills as an easy work out, you have a lot of time to recover after each hill, and most of all, believe in yourself

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
Monday after the race, I will be hydrating with maple water, apple cider vinegar with water, ginger root tea, big bowl of chick peas for protein, salty snack pretzels and bean chips.

Ashley McKenney – Maui, HI

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon? If not, what number?
This is my second . I ran in 2011 and had a rough race. It’s been a long journey to earn my way back and I’m going for redemption this year!

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
To me, running Boston means the culmination of six years of hard work, commitment, and never giving up on my goal. It also means being able to celebrate my achievements and be in New England where I grew up. I love Boston!

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
I’ve been training on Maui, where I’ve lived for the last 3 1/2 years. My favorite route includes a loop through the resort towns of Wailea and Makena because the hills are rolling and the views are beautiful.

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
My biggest tip is a lesson I learned in 2011: don’t go out too fast or too hard. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and the crowd’s energy, but running too fast in the beginning and trying to bank time in the early miles was a big mistake for me. I’m planning to run a smarter race this year.

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
I’m already imagining the beers and the large pizza I’ll enjoy after the race!

Michael Hoffman – Marlborough, MA

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon? If not, what number?
This will be my seventh time running the Boston Marathon but I am just as excited as I was my first time racing!

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
To me, the Boston Marathon always signifies the start of the race season. After training all winter I finally get to put all the hard work to use and really test my fitness. And what better way to do it! Of all the races I have done, Boston is definitely one of my favorites; the support that the local community provides is absolutely incredible. It really is a 26.2 mile-long party and it is a privilege to be able to take part in it.

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
Admittedly I have been doing the majority of my training on the treadmill. However, I would say that some of my favorite places to run are around Irondequoit Bay in my home town of Rochester, NY and on the Ironman run course up in Lake Placid, NY.

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
Have fun! We have all put in an incredible amount of work to get to the start line. Race day is the time for us to reap the rewards and truly enjoy the experience. The entire race course is lined with incredible sights and sounds and it is an absolute blast to take them all in.

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
Once I finish I will be looking to eat anything and everything! Nothing specific, so long as it tastes good. But I will definitive be looking forward to re-hydrating with DRINKmaple. My family has already been given a few bottles to have ready and waiting for once I cross the finish line 🙂

BJ Williams – Leicester, MA

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon? If not, what number?
This will be my third straight time with Team Hoyt.

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
I have always admired people training for months and months for this great race. It was on my bucket list to do and after my first time running it, I got hooked. The spectators, the energy it is all just so over the top!

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
I do a lot of running in Leicester, MA where my wife and I live. I make it out to the Boston course to run from Boston College to Nantucket or Wellesley College. Anytime I run on the Boston course it is my favorite training spot!

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
I am not so pro but my three tips to any first-time Boston Marathon runners is take it slow and each on the miles. Do not wear headphones as you will miss the cheers of motivation and last would be take in every moment in!

Timothy McCormick – Charlestown, MA

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon? If not, what number?
I ran last year, but unfortunately had to drop at 13 due to illness.

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
I’ve been watching/going to the Boston marathon since I was a little kid. As a kid, I was in awe of the amazing athletes who could run 26.2 miles at 5-minute mile pace or faster. As an adult, I have gained a tremendous amount of respect for all runners competing and the process each one of them goes through. The race is truly a celebration of running and the effort of the thousands of runners involved.

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
Training all over. Most of my true long runs have been on the course focusing on running fast on the hills.

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
Set 3 goals for your race finish. For me, my A goal is 2:38; B goal 2:42, and my C goal is sub 2:45. Unfortunately, we cannot control the weather!

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
Eating whatever I can get my hands on! DRINKmaple of course!!!

Greg Soutiea – Quincy, MA (www.soutiearuns.com < check it out!)

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon? If not, what number?
4th time running Boston. I ran 2013, 2014, and 2015.

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
My first Boston ever was 2013, so to run it several times since means the world to me. It’s always one of my favorite days of the year. I qualified to run in 2016, but missed the cutoff and was pretty disappointed. This made me even more hungry to get back in 2017 and start my “streak” over again!

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
Most of my training is done around Boston’s South Shore in the Quincy area but I do long runs up to South Boston, up to the Charles River path, or up to the Marathon course and back. I’m just coming off competing at a 24-hour race in Tennessee, so most of my “long training runs” were in the 30-50 mile range which allowed me to venture far from home and get in some really fun training runs around the city.

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
START OUT EASY. If you feel like you’re “working” at all in the first 5-10 miles then you’ll pay for that later. Your effort level should be as easy as possible and keep you at or near goal pace early on. Don’t try to “bank time,” – it never works.

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
I’m planning to run to the start line from the finish line around 5am on race morning, so after doing the “Boston Double” I’ll be ready for ALL the food and beers. After downing a post-race DRINKmaple or two, of course.

Ben Giust – Cleveland, OH

1) You are not running the Boston Marathon, but you are here supporting a special cause. Can you tell us about that?
A few friends and I ​road-tripped from Cleveland, Ohio to support our good friend, Aaron Naft who is running Boston this year. This will be Aaron’s second year running the Boston Marathon in support of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and more specifically, Team Hugh.

Aaron started Team Hugh in college while working with the Bentley University chapter of Love Your Melon. During that time, he got to know a boy named Hugh, who is currently battling pediatric cancer. The two instantly hit it off and quickly became close friends. They still hang out and spend time together and they will both tell you that they’ve become a part of each other’s families. They’re brothers.

Aaron is running this marathon to raise money that will be vital in the effort to find a cure for cancer. He’s running for Hugh and for cancer patients everywhere so that one day, they too will be able to run marathons and do whatever they put their minds to. He’s running because if kids like Hugh can fight their battles every single day and still have a smile on their faces, then 26.2 miles is nothing.

If you would like to learn more about Team Hugh, please check out this year’s #TeamHugh video at

Aaron has set a fundraising goal of $10,000 this year and every cent will go to cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. If you would like to help Aaron reach his goal and support Team Hugh, please consider donating to Aaron’s fundraising page at www.rundfmc.org/2017/teamhugh You can also send donations to @TeamHugh on Venmo.

2) Have you ever run the Boston Marathon? Any ambitions to do so?
I only really got into running a few years ago, when I ran the 2014 Copenhagen Half Marathon on a whim. I was studying abroad at the time and I saw a poster the day before the race. The furthest I had ever run before that point was 6 miles, but I figured I could push through and finish, so I signed up. I ran that race in cross-trainers and had to go to the hospital afterwards for x-rays to see if my feet were fractured, but once I crossed the finish line I was hooked.

I had always been athletic and played sports throughout school, but the feeling I got when I finished that race really made me get serious about running and I started signing up for races left and right. Since then, I’ve run some more half marathons, a handful of other races, and I ran my first full marathon in Chicago last October. Unfortunately, I was totally unprepared and came nowhere near my goal time. I’m not satisfied with that, so I’ll be running Chicago again this October and I’m hoping for a much better result now that I know what to expect and what I need to do during my training.

As far as Boston goes, running a BQ time has been at the top of my bucket list since I started taking running seriously. Sometimes I think that it’s not a realistic goal for me, but then I think of Aaron and Hugh and all of the other people in my life that inspire me every day, and I keep doing what I can to take steps in the right direction that will lead me to that accomplishment.

3) What are you looking forward to most on Marathon Monday?
I still haven’t gotten to meet Hugh, so getting to spend some time with this kid who has become a personal hero of mine is definitely at the top of the list.

I’m also excited to experience the Boston Marathon because from everything that I’ve heard, it’s unlike any other race in the world. I can’t wait to see the crowd, the signs, and the positive energy that you can only find on race day at a marathon. I can’t wait to see my fellow DRINKmaple ambassadors on the course. You’re all going to kick some ass and I can’t wait to cheer you all on!

Brady Hoover – Medford, MA
1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon? If not, what number?
This is not my first Boston, but my 3rd Boston. I ran in 2014, 2015 as well.

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
Boston for me is a unique race. It’s a celebration for the runners, fans, and the city of Boston. Marathon Monday is the one day that the city shuts down to support the race. The runners and the fans are what makes the race. It is a celebration for months of hard work through yet another New England winter. The runners have trained hard through the cold, snow, ice, rain, slush, and anything else mother nature can throw at us. It is also a time for celebration for the fans of the runners loved ones. They to have to make sacrifices. Time away from their loved ones during long training runs, higher grocery bills to feed their hungry runners, listening to the complaining of the aches and pains, you name it.

As a child growing up I remember watching my father run the Marathon year after year. Always being there to cheer him on at the Woodland train station and then high tailing it into Kenmore to see him finish. I remember running alongside him as a child cheering him on. Now, the tables have turned and it is his turn to sit back and cheer watching a new generation run this race.

The Boston Marathon is one of the only races in the world where you as a runner have the chance to run the course at the same time as the world’s best athletes. When the gun goes off at 10am it’s such a great feeling know that you are starting at the same moment as the world’s best!

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
I have been training in the neighborhoods around me, in Medford. One of my favorite loops to run is around the Middlesex Fells, then I’ll loop it around Tufts and Davis Square. I tend to get tons of hill work in, in this loop, with the second half being more uphill than down. Much like Boston.

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
Trust your training and believe in yourself. The Marathon is the fun part. You’ve already done the hardest part, which is surviving the training injury free. Enjoy it!

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
I have been restricting what I have been eating for the last couple of weeks. So what I can’t wait for is a huge burger, with fries and the works.  Oh, and pizza too! For drinking after the race, I will be sure there is a bottle or three of some good ole maple water to take down when I pick up my gear bag.

Amany Ishaq – New Orleans, LA

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon? If not, what number?
This is technically my 2nd Boston. I was injured last year, so I came out to cheer on my friends, but ran in 2015!

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?  
Running Boston this year means more than just running a marathon. The injury that kept me out of the race last year happened 10 days before the race, which was extremely frustrating; I had come off a great marathon in January, where I placed first overall female in a local marathon and ran my (current) personal best. I haven’t run a marathon since that race in January, and have since had major (planned) jaw surgery and battled about six months worth of injuries. This Boston is my first marathon in over 15 months and I’m so excited to return to the marathon at the biggest running stage! The pride that the folks of Boston have in their hometown race is immeasurable; it reminds me of the resilience and pride that the city of New Orleans (my hometown) had after Hurricane Katrina.

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?  
I’ve mostly been training in New Orleans with my friends, who are all mostly coming up to run the race as well! We frequently run the “city loop,” which basically highlights all major parts of the city. It was definitely fun to run during Mardi Gras, when you’re starting a run at 6am, and some people are still out from parading the night before! We also have been traveling about 75 minutes north of New Orleans to run the hills. We all appreciate the hills of Boston, and tried to do our best to prepare for it!

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?  
I definitely plan on finding some GOOD pizza in Boston after the race, as well as visiting Fomu for ice cream!

Brendan McKiernan – Milton, MA

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon? If not, what number?
I am lucky to run for the second time this year, both time raising money for Friendship Home.

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
It is a chance to support a tremendous cause and be part of a spectacular event. Since the race is about more than my outcome, it means more.

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
My favorite run is going from the Blue Hills (downhill) to Quincy Shore Dr. along the water, and then finishing close to my home in Milton, MA (hilly). It helps to simulate the race course and is very scenic!

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
Enjoy every minute of it.  The Expo, the crowd, the course. Don’t get so involved in your result to miss the beauty of what the race means to the city.

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
In addition to enjoy a few maple waters, I will be having some grilled chicken, sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts.  

Wendy Hammerman – Houston, TX

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon? If not, what number?
This is the 3rd time I’ve qualified but 1st time to actually run.

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
It is the race of all races for a runner. I’m excited and nervous-but the best part will be seeing my eldest son that goes to school at BU.

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
I’ve been running anywhere and everywhere. Truly, my mileage has never topped 30 miles per week because I’m racing Ironman Texas 5 days after Boston and have spent countless hours on my bike and in the pool, as well.

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
Not too many goodies since Ironman Texas is on Saturday!

Lindsey Wolfe – Somerville, MA

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon? If not, what number?
This will be my 3rd consecutive year running Boston, initially qualifying at The Chicago Marathon in 2013, which was my first marathon.

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
I’ve primarily been training on the course for my long runs, running different loops and always incorporating the hills. They never get easier, but you get better! I also just came back from a week of triathlon training in San Diego, so I was able to train in the heat, which we may see on Marathon Monday!

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
The most important things for fellow Boston Marathon Runners to remember are to A) Run your race – focus on your own pacing as you start with the crowd in the first miles of descent and hold back from letting the crowd lace you & B) Use the passion and energy of the crowd – no spectators in the world compare to the fans cheering at the Boston Marathon! Let them lift you up & help you get across that finish line!

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
I’ll immediately chug some DRINKmaple (it’ll be waiting in my checked bag), then I’ll be recovering with a Turkey Club with sweet potato fries annnnd a Sam Adams 26.2 – one of my fave brews of the year that you can only get on tap along the course for a very limited time!

Brian Baker – Walden, NY

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon?
No! This is Boston #12 for me; 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1998, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016.

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
It’s the “Grand Daddy” of all marathons. It’s where you run if you are serious about racing (and not merely completing) marathons.

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
Walden, NY and Falmouth, MA. A brutally hilly 24 mile loop that I have named Straw Ridge, after the road that has the toughest series of hills on it.  Only four other people have ever been brave enough to run it with me, but I am very thankful that my wife (and training partner), Carolyn, bicycles it with me, even on the coldest winter days!

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
Take the first half easy, since it is so downhill. It lulls you into a false sense of confidence because the first half seems so easy, and then your quads will be paying the price throughout the second half. (Personal experience; I’ve had to do the “marathon shuffle” more than once!)

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
I’ve been vegetarian/vegan since 1976, so I’ll be eating some protein-loaded recovery bars, and some soy-based protein for my meal. I’ll certainly be drinking my DRINKmaple, of course, along with some Orgain Vegan Vanilla Nutritional Shakes.

Meghan Weiler – Boston, MA

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon? If not, what number?
Third time’s the charm!

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?
I’m in taper mode and have to keep even keel (shout-out Weiler fam) so I will refrain from getting emotional and answer this post race!

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?
Charles River Esplanade, Castle Island, and for long runs, hit up the ‘burbs!  My favorite cross-training is bringing my yoga mat out to Battery Wharf getting my waterfront stretch on. Namas’cray!

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?
Stick to one side of the course and tell your fans. Zig-zagging adds up over 26.2 miles!

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?
DRINKmaple, of course! With a strong IPA and pizza on the side.

Mick Arsenault – Middleton, NH

1) Is this your first time racing the Boston Marathon? If not, what number?  
This is my 6th consecutive Boston Marathon.

2) What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?  
It’s the pinnacle of our sport, there really is nothing like it. I’m a trail runner now, mostly running 50’s and 100’s but there’s something about the Boston Marathon that keeps me coming back. And it’s in my backyard!

3) Where have you been training? Favorite training route?  
I train around my home in New Hampshire, I live in the foothills of the White Mountains.

4) Any tips for fellow Boston Marathon runners?  
Take it easy the first 5 miles!!!

5) What will you be eating and drinking on Monday after the race?  
Lots of maple water! And likely a few 26.2 brews as well…