Running for the Ranch : Karen McKenna

Camp Nurse Karen McKenna checked off another bucket list item: running the Boston Marathon. On Monday, April 17th, Karen ran for the Double H Ranch as a member of “Hole in the Wall FUNraisers” team and raised funds to provide the joy and magic of camp to children and families living with a serious illness. Here’s what Karen had to share about her Boston Marathon experience: 

What inspired you to run the Boston Marathon?

This was a bucket list item.  I knew I would never be fast enough to qualify on my own and as a runner, it was a pipe dream to run this race.  It wasn’t until the idea of raising money for Camp could help me achieve my dream that I figured I could do it.

How did you stay motivated through your training, especially through the winter?

It was tough.  Working full time, going to school, having a family and training for a marathon all at the same time were at times overwhelming. The weather made it tough. It’s hard to get out there in the cold and the dark.  Knowing that kids from camp don’t have the option of quitting gave me inspiration.  And a husband that kept telling me… “that marathon ain’t gonna run itself” helped.

Leading up to the Marathon, you were fundraising to help support Camp programs. How much did you raise?

I ended up raising $9,000 as of the morning of the marathon.  I can’t believe the amount of support I received from people who had no connection to camp or running.  A lot of donations were from friends who just wanted to support me in my efforts.  It was truly a humbling experience.

Was this your first marathon?

This was my first Boston Marathon.  It was my 5th marathon overall.  I’ve run some big races including the Marine Corps Marathon, Dublin Marathon, and Disney; but this was by far the best crowd support I’ve ever experienced.  Every single person was there to root for me!

How were you feeling the day of the race? What was it like at the starting line?

Being a “charity” runner, I was very intimidated by running with these elite runners.  These are people who are super fast and have worked very hard to qualify for this prestigious race.  I thought that I didn’t belong.  As I was walking to the start line, I realized that I was surrounded by runners.  These are some of the kindest, nicest, most generous people I know.  I was surrounded by people just like me who were just happy to be there.

What kinds of things did you think about as you ran the Marathon?

I had about a million thoughts while running.  Everything from “I like her shoes” to “is this ever going to end?”  At some points the crowds were so loud that I couldn’t tell if my music was still playing.  My mind wanders all over the place while I run.  I made up stories about the people running near me, I wondered what kind of food would be at the finish line, I wondered if there would still be skin on my legs when I was done!

Did you have a favorite part of the course or memory from this race?

I loved running through Wellesley and near Boston College.  The finish line was amazing…but at that point I just wanted it to be over!

How did it feel when you crossed the finish line?

The finish line.  I remember thinking that I was so happy to see it…and I was even happier to be done!  For me, this was a personal record.  I finished in 4:57. My goal was 5:30 since I felt like I was undertrained due to the long winter.  I just wanted to finish.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about the Boston Marathon?

My family had a wonderful time just watching the race, handing out water and orange slices.  We are already planning on going again next year as spectators and enjoying the race from the sidelines.  I’m forever grateful for the chance to say that I ran the Boston Marathon.  It’s just another one of the wonderful things that I got to be a part of through our involvement with Double H Ranch. They truly are part of the family.


»Are you interested in participating in an athletic event to help raise funds for the Double H Ranch? Check out our upcoming opportunities including the Reebok Ragnar Adirondacks and the Camp Challenge Ride & Run