Shannon Hanson would have been there had she been able to get the day off from work.
Instead, like so many other people living in New England and beyond, Hanson watched in horror as the tragic events unfolded during the 117th running of the Boston Marathon last April.
Disbelief and fear quickly turned to concern as she waited to hear from several running friends who had been close to finishing the marathon when the bombs detonated. Hanson felt fortunate once she found out that all her friends were safe — and that frightening moment sent her on a journey that she wouldn’t have expected.
“I usually go the marathon, but I couldn’t get out of work and couldn’t get a (baby) sitter and I missed it. I was upset,” said Hanson, who grew up in Danvers and graduated from Bishop Fenwick in 1994.
“After that, I started a running streak. I’ve been running every day since the marathon, at least one mile and a bunch of half-marathons. I haven’t missed a day and along the way I found myself on a team.”
Hanson’s original intent wasn’t necessarily to run the 118th Boston Marathon. But she knew she’d be there one way or another, possibly as a volunteer.
During her extreme running streak, however, Hanson began to entertain the idea of running Boston.
Through some good fortune, Hanson found a place on a team running for Jumpstart, an organization dedicated to helping under-privileged children learn at an early age.
“I always dreamed about (running Boston) but never thought I’d be able to do it. I lucked out with this team,” Hanson said.
“I tracked my training on dailymile.com and through mutual running people, an out-of-state runner who ran for Jumpstart said he qualified (for Boston) and didn’t need the number. He asked the organization if I could interview for it. I’m really lucky to be able to do it.”
In addition to her training, Hanson is now completely dedicated to raising the necessary funding for Jumpstart. Most organizations recently boosted their minimum fundraising figure to $7,500, but Jumpstart kept its requirement at $5,000.
Still, Hanson hopes to raise $7,500 and, in an effort to do so, she’ll be hosting a fundraiser at Sylvan Street Grille in Danvers on Thursday, Feb. 6, beginning at 5 p.m.
“It’s just the food bill for any meal,” Hanson said. “Everybody who presents the coupon, 20 percent of that bill will go to Jumpstart.”
Hanson, who has two young children, Liam (5) and Alexis (4) with her husband Joe, has run the Philadelphia Marathon twice. She intends to keep her running streak alive and is looking forward to taking her first crack at the Boston course.
“I’ve walked Boston for Jimmy Fund, so I know the course. I’m really excited to try it as a runner,” Hanson said. “I can’t wait.
“I’ve done the Run to Remember Half-Marathon three or four times, and this (past) year it was something else. It’s done on Memorial Day weekend, so it was just a month after (the marathon bombings). Running through Boston at MIT, all of the MIT officers were wearing their blues and shaking hands and high-fiving. I’ve never cried on a course before, but I did probably three times that day. It was unbelievable.
“I can’t even imagine how this is going to be.”
If you’d like to donate to Shannon Hanson’s Jumpstart page and can’t make it to the Sylvan Street Grille on Feb. 6, please visit http://www.crowdrise.com/Jumpstart2014bostonmarathonfundraiser/shannonfouheyhanson