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On April 17th, sixteen runners will lace up their sneakers and run the Boston Marathon as members of Dougie’s Team. I am honored to be represent this group as team coach. Whether they are directly impacted by Autism in their own day to day life, or just want to support those who are, this is an amazing group of people I am fortunate enough to call my teammates. Day in and day out, they hit the road to train for those grueling 26.2 miles they will soon face. Their days are exhausting with the demands of work and raising families, yet their commitment to to their training and fundraising (with a $200,000 goal) is remarkable – truly superhuman! Below are some of the team’s response when asked, ‘Why do you run?’

Jason Bonenfant, Methuen, MA

Why I run is because I’m crazy, or at least that is what people tell me when I say how far I am running while training during a Boston winter.  I think it has far more to do with my community. To run through the city I grew up in, went to college in, that I work in, met my wife in and brought from the hospital my first child home to. Surrounded by my friends, my family, and my neighbors I get to proudly run on behalf of an organization giving back to this same community so children can flourish as members of their community. If that’s not a reason to run…then maybe I am crazy.


Alan Seymour, Natick, MA

You were 12 years old and it was the first day of junior high school. You play baseball, so you gravitate to the ball field and get in a game. There is a kid on your team, a little bigger than you who clubs a home run batting righty and then clubs another homer batting lefty. Leaving a lasting impression on a 12-year old baseball nut! You find out he’s new to your town having just moved up from Florida. You both love sports and you become fast friends. Your friend is a damn talented athlete who goes on to do some really good things in high school. Then he does some really great things in college,  in fact you could say pretty magical things. The most magical being that he showed people that if you have faith in yourself and always try your best, then you can overcome anything. Years later, your friend and his wife are presented with a challenge, and together they set their minds to figuring out a way to do their best, to make it better not just for themselves but for anyone else that may also have this challenge. So they start a Foundation. This Foundation has a small team of runners for the Boston Marathon. You apply to be on that team, even though you’ve never run anything longer than a 5K. You get accepted, and you think to yourself “I can do this for my friends.” And you believe that with your whole heart, and then you put on your sneakers and you run.


Matt Helman, Malden, MA

I run for a lot of reasons. I run for my son.  I run to be a part of something bigger than myself.  I run for health.  I run to say, yeah, I ran.  I run for the endorphins AND the breathlessness.  I run because it’s faster than walking.  I run so the ice cream truck I’m chasing knows I mean business.  I run because it might help others.  But, mostly, I run for my son.


Kim Chandler, Franklin, MA

I run. And run. And run. I run to stay fit. I run to stay sane. I run alone. I run with friends. I run races. I run to give back. I run to a be role model for my kids. I run for the love of running. I run because I can. I run…


Christy Varney, Kittery Point, ME

I run for change. I run to change my mood. With 3 busy kids, a job, 2 dogs and a household to run- I’m often stressed or overwhelmed. Any amount of miles is a guaranteed mood booster! I run to change my outlook. Running affords me lots of time for reflection. I do most of my thinking and planning while logging miles. I run to change my body. Who doesn’t love the calorie burn? Running is my no-guilt way to eat more ice cream! I run to change my mind. Many times in my life I’ve been an “I can’t person.” Running makes me an “I can person.” I run to change my future. Running will always be a part of me. I’m committed to an active lifestyle and role-modeling that for my children. And now I run for Dougie’s Team and for all children, like my niece Ellie, who lives with autism.


Coming together as a team on Marathon Monday to run for so many reasons, but one common goal – to raise as much as we can for The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. Families who are directly impacted by Autism are in a way running a marathon every single day. This is our way to cheer them on and help support them through their ‘miles’.

If you would like to support our efforts,  please visit:

All my best,

Susan Hurley, Coach of ‘Dougie’s Team’