Evy Picker, MD, has never been a runner.
“If you asked me a year ago to run around the block, I would have thought you were nuts,” says Picker, a primary care physician at MGH West in Waltham. However, this year Picker was inspired to run in “defiance of the Boston Marathon bombings” and she now is one of more than 80 MGH employees who are running for the MGH.
Picker became fully committed after realizing her daughter’s friend, who died of cancer 10 years ago, would have turned 26 this year. “Between the marathon bombings, being 63 and wanting to challenge myself, and wanting to honor a young girl who would have been 26, it all fit together that this was the time,” she says. She is running for the Mass General Marathon Team, Fighting Kids’ Cancer ... One Step at a Time, which raises money for the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Unit.
Picker began her running journey with the smartphone app “Couch-to-5K.” She started by walking for 1 minute alternating with running 1 minute, and built up her distance from there. In September, she ran in her first event, a 5-kilometer race for the Boston Samaritans. “I was absolutely shocked to come in third in my age group – there are some advantages to age,” Picker laughs.
“My body still questions what I think I’m doing the first 5 minutes of every run,” she says. “But I really enjoy running now. Entering that ‘runner’s zone’ is a wonderful thing. You don’t realize the time that goes by, you are so focused on the moment and nothing else matters. When the run is over, it doesn’t seem real that I’ve gone the distance.”
Picker has faced a few training obstacles. During one outdoor run, she slipped on ice and ended up with stitches in her chin. During her first, and only, indoor run on the treadmill, she pulled a muscle in her leg. Both incidents set her back a bit, but late last month, she joined her MGH teammates for a training run from Hopkinton to Newton – approximately 20 miles.
Picker says she has been touched by the support she has received – both during her training and toward her fundraising goal. “What has been most touching is that a large portion of my fundraising contributions have come from former patients, people I’ve cared for but haven’t seen in at least 8 and even 10 to 15 years. That support has been gratifying and humbling.” She also has received support from her current patients, and is delighted that some actually have been motivated to start a running routine. “I’ve told them we can run the marathon together next year.”
For more information about this year’s teams visit, www.runformgh.org.
This story is part of a series of articles that MGH Hotline will publish about the teams and team members supporting the MGH as part of this year’s Boston Marathon.
Read more articles from the 04/04/14 Hotline issue.