The Franklin Park Coalition is an official Boston Marathon charity with around 24 runners including five from the North Shore. Sharie Hewson, a former Wicked Running Club president, is from Beverly while team captain Julie Arrison lives in Salem, and Jason Carraro is a Danvers resident. Mike Toomey of Marblehead, who is taking a year’s leave of absence from coaching the Magicians girls track team, is coaching the group.
To date the FPC team has raised over 1,500 dollars, and donors can help out at several different levels. Franklin Park is near and dear to every distance runner, who grew up in the Boston area and raced on the course. Toomey enjoyed great success there not only in high school but also at UMass Lowell in the 1991 New England Championship.
Franklin Park is also an historic landmark, and the goal of the marathon team is to help park management restore and preserve this gem in the heart of the city. Future plans include bringing back the Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park for free summer concerts as well as improve public safety and beautify the area. Donations will help provide uniforms and garden equipment for the Youth Conservation Crew.
Last year Tabbut was on the bus to Hopkinton with several of his Wicked Running Club teammates, who talked about running the marathon for the FPC.
“I have fond memories of Franklin Park where I was sixth in the JV division of the Catholic Memorial Invitational in 1976,” he said. “I was a volunteer when Lynn Jennings win the World Cross Country Championship title on her home turf in 1992, and I ran there for a team in the 1996 USATF Masters Championships.”
For Hewson this will be her third straight Boston Marathon. Back in 2012 she endured record breaking heat, ran through an injury last year, and is hoping for a strong finish this time. Carraro has been raising funds for Franklin Park for the last three years.