Six runners are running the Boston Marathon to raise money for the nonprofit programs of Ironstone Farm in Andover. You can read their stories by clicking on the “Latest News” link at the bottom of the www.ironstonefarm.org home page.
Mariah Hyslip has run the Feaster Five with her family every year since she was 4. This year, after running the 5-kilometer race, she also ran back to her family’s Andover Country Club home.
Mariah had begun training for the 2014 Boston Marathon. This year’s historic race will be the first marathon Mariah, or any other Hyslip, has ever run, she said. It’s shaping up to be a family affair.
Her mom has printed T-shirts that say “On a scale of 1 - 10, Mariah is a 26.2.” Family and friends will wear the shirts on Patriots Day, and they plan to spread out along the course to support her as she tackles the 26.2 miles. Her brother John will fly in from Pennsylvania.
“It will definitely be an amazing experience, especially this year. I’m excited my first experience will be at one that’s so well known, with so many people supporting you,” Mariah said.
Mariah started running when she went to college. Growing up in Andover she’d played many sports, and running was a way to stay active. She set a goal of completing a half-marathon, loved the experience when she succeeded, and has done several half-marathons since.
When auctioneer Susan Wornick announced at Ironstone Farm’s Spirit of Giving Gala last November that she had one marathon bib to auction off, Mariah’s eyes lit up. She said she relished the idea of not only running the marathon but doing it to raise money for the nonprofit programs at Ironstone Farm in Andover, which help children with special needs, combat veterans with post-traumatic stress, survivors of cancer and others. People can donate to her effort at http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/MariahHyslip/ChallengeUnlimited, or by visiting www.ironstonefarm.org.
People may have seen her running in West Andover.
“I try to run in all the developments to make it more interesting. Andover’s a big town, but once you’re running 15 miles it gets pretty small,” she said. “I’ve been training by myself. My parents have been great about it. I come home to run. I tell them my course and they’ll be there at mile 6 or mile 9 cheering me on.”
“They drive by and wave. They waited at Barron’s Country Store one day, until I ran by. And at Boston Sports Club. They find little places to surprise me at,” said Hyslip. “I’m always like, ‘Where are they going to be next?’ I can’t be walking when they see me.”
Mariah goes to school in Boston and attends the marathon each year. By chance she was not at last year’s marathon only because her parents, Rick and Martha Hyslip of Andover, were away and she was home taking care of their dog in Andover.
“I wasn’t there last year but religiously I go to every marathon,” she said. “Everyone says, after they go to one marathon, ‘I love it! I’m going to run it next year.’ I’m excited to actually get to do it.
“I think the crowd is going to be amazing. All the people who want to run are training hard and it’s going to bring Boston together so much more. Everyone you speak to about running the Boston Marathon, everyone’s aware of it. Everyone wants to support you, so I’m excited to be a part of it,” said Mariah.
Training for the marathon this winter was not always easy, particularly on days with strong, frigid winds.
“I only had one really difficult day where I had to almost run in the street because of all the slush. The wind is horrible for training, but I did all my long runs outside. The shorter runs, I can get up to about 8 miles on a treadmill, and then that’s it,” she laughed. “On a treadmill it gets really boring, really fast. But the thing about a treadmill is it keeps going, so you can’t just stop.”
To get ready for Boston, Mariah on April 6 ran the Fool’s Dual Half Marathon and 5K Road Race, where she had to run a half marathon and 5K back-to-back.
“People have told me, once you get to 20 miles you’re good because the crowd will keep you going. I hope that’s true, because that’s the most I’m going to do [in training],” she said.
Mariah Hyslip is one of six running the Boston Marathon for the nonprofit programs at Ironstone Farm in Andover. The other runners are: Eric Strand, Jill Lang, Peter Pedro, Kevin Powers and Mike Rogers. Read their stories, and donate to their efforts at ironstonefarm.org.