Monday, March 31, 2014

Q&A with marathon runner Brian Beale

Image of marathon runner Brian Beale, and patient partner Amanuel, age 5, leukemia

Brian Beale, running for Amanuel, age 5, leukemia

Q: What is your name?

A: Brian Beale

Q: Where are you from?

A: Philadelphia, PA

Q: Why did you choose to run the marathon for MassGeneral Hospital for Children?

A: I have been running in a local club with Howard Weinstein, MD, chief of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at MGHfC for the past year and a half and have listened to his stories about the Boston Marathon and Mass General Marathon Team during the course of that time. Needless to say, I have been extremely inspired by the accomplishments of all involved. Though I have been a runner for many years and have run three other marathons, this will be my first Boston Marathon. The tragic events of the 2013 race encouraged me to join the Mass General Marathon Team and give purpose to my running.

Q: What kind of experience do you have as a runner?

A: I have been running regularly since 2002 and have participated in a variety of distance races including fifteen half marathons, two 25K trail races, one 20 miler, three marathons and one 60 mile stage race.

Q: What inspires you as a runner?

A: I have always been inspired by the closeness of the running community and the camaraderie that I experience when in the company of fellow athletes. Like many other runners, the sport is extremely important to me personally and is something I value greatly.

Q: What has been your most memorable moment preparing for the marathon?

A: This winter has been extremely challenging for anyone preparing for the marathon. While I have felt good about my long runs, it has been difficult getting out regularly during the week. We were lucky to have a beautiful day one weekend, and I went for a 16 mile run from Newton to Boston. Seeing hundreds of runners (of all abilities no less) running up and down Commonwealth Avenue was an incredible sight and something that stayed with me days after. For the first time, the marathon felt near and spring was “in the air.” It was a great run and a memorable experience.

Q: What have you learned about your patient partner and what makes him special?

A: I was fortunate to meet my patient partner last week at the MGHfC Cancer Center. Within moments of saying hello for the first time, he had challenged me to a race around the hallways. We had a great time playing around during the photo shoot and our time together. He is an incredibly tough little guy with great energy and stamina. I am not sure how he does it, but he was extremely positive and had a huge smile on his face the entire time we were together. He is definitely someone to look up to.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about marathon day?

A: I am really excited about the entire experience and look forward to taking it all in. I am particularly excited for Heartbreak Hill and seeing our Mass General Marathon Team supporters at mile 20. I plan on giving my patient partner a big high five when I run by! I know it will be an emotional day for all and a powerful experience.

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