Marathon Blog: Olivia Reed & Kara Boon

Olivia-Reed-Marathon-Horizons For Homeless Children
Kara Boon-Marathon-Horizons For Homeless Children

Name: Olivia Reed
Home City, State: Boston, MA
Age: 28 on marathon day
Company: Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Name: Kara Boon
Home City, State: Boston, MA 

Age: 32 on marathon day
Company: Eaton Vance Management

How long us have you been involved with Horizons and how did you first hear about us?
Kara: I have been a PAL for 6 years. My good friend saw an ad on the T about becoming a PAL, and we signed up together. When I moved to Boston, I eventually switched to the East Boston shelter and have been there for 5 years. I volunteer every Monday and have met a really great group of women from volunteering and quickly fell in love with your mission.
Olivia: I have been involved with Horizons for 5 years and started getting involved by attending the women’s breakfast event. I had two former colleagues who were PALs at the time and we were able to spark interest in the organization within the company and got funding to take the Horizons children on two field trips; one to the Aquarium and one to the Boston Children’s Museum. After that, I got learned about the PLAY Network and have been a part of the leadership committee ever since.

Why did you choose to run for Horizons over other organizations with which you’re involved?
Kara: I chose to run for Horizons because it’s a cause that I really believe in. After working with these kids after the last 6 years and seeing them week after week, I see how the odds are against them before they even get a chance to really prove anything. I was blessed to have an awesome childhood and I can only imagine what it must be like for these kids to have such a disadvantage in life so early on. Also, it has been by far my favorite organization to work with – everyone I have met is so incredibly nice, professional and passionate about the cause.
Olivia: Running the Boston Marathon has always been on my bucket list and once I heard about the opportunity to run for Horizons I knew I had to jump on it. This timing is perfect; not only do I get to check the Marathon off my list, but I get to give back to an organization that has shaped the last 5 years of my life in such a positive way.

When asking family/friends for donations, what strategies have you found to be most successful? Also, what training strategies have helped you to be successful?
Kara: Some fundraising strategies that I have found to be successful are not immediately asking my network to donate. I would start my outreach by sharing what Horizons is all about and why it means so much to me, and then just share that I am running the Boston Marathon for Horizons. I didn’t even have to ask most of my friends/family to donate since this alone inclined them to ask me to send my donation page, and they would support me right away. When I was sending mass emails about my marathon, I would get 10 immediate donations, but then it would go quiet. I also found #GivingTuesday to be incredibly helpful with getting donations in sooner rather than later. Also, Eaton Vance has a 100% matching gift program, so I have received a lot of my donations from matching gifts as well.
For training, I wish I focused more on the non-running part of the training (such as PT strengthening exercises and stretches), but I have learned to be patient and to run slow. I am used to running only 4-5 miles, so this has been challenging for me.
Olivia: I also found #GivingTuesday to be incredibly helpful to get my fundraising momentum going and raised my first $1,000 in that day. For me, planning an event helped bring in donations sooner rather than later. I believe I raised half of my fundraising $ total in the week leading up to the event, and I got a $500 match from Crowdrise that week as well. Going into this experience I was more stressed about the fundraising component than I was about the training, but I was blown away by the generosity of family, friends and colleagues who reached out to support me and Horizons.
For training, I had been dealing with shin splints before starting my marathon training. I had run a couple of half marathons, but I had never dealt with this kind of pain from running before. Once I heard about the free consultation with Joint Ventures, I started making weekly appointments to get the treatment I needed. They helped me with a strength training program and this has been tremendous for my training. It was kind of a blessing in disguise that I got hurt so early on…

What has been the most challenging part of this experience?
Kara: The most challenging part for me has been being injured. I underestimated the toll the training can take on your body. It’s confusing for a first time marathon runner that I am not running as much as I thought I would, but my body is still getting beat up.
Olivia: For me, it’s been hard to be patient through these injuries. I’m having a difficult time finding a balance between taking that time off when your body needs it and keeping up with your training plan. I was terrified of the fundraising component, but I had such an outpour of support that it was easier than I thought it was going to be.

What will be the most rewarding part of this experience for you?
Kara: The most rewarding part will be crossing the finish line! Also, it has been so rewarding to see the flood of donations to my crowdrise page (like on #GivingTuesday). It makes you feel really good to know you are making an impact on Horizons. It’s been really special.
Olivia: I would also agree that seeing the donations coming in has been incredibly rewarding. Also, can’t wait to cross that finish line, but I’m also so proud that I ran my first 20 mile run the other day!

What will be the first thing you eat after you run 26 miles?
Kara: French fries!
Olivia: Milkshake!

What is your ideal weather for April 15?
Kara: 55 degrees and cloudy! I just hope it doesn’t rain…
Olivia: 45 degrees and cloudy!

Please consider supporting the marathon team with a donation today and remember to cheer them on April 15th!