Name: Hannah Kilson
Company: Nolan Sheehan Patten LLP
Name: Hannah Brazel
How long us have you been involved with Horizons and how did you first hear about us?
Kilson – I first heard about Horizons in 2010. My middle child, Zuri, was about 8-years-old and told me that she wanted to give to homeless children. My family and I thought this was a great idea and started to Google where to make a charitable contribution to support homeless children. This was how we found Horizons! When I decided that I wanted to run a marathon, I knew I wanted it to be for Horizons.
Brazel – Well I was lucky enough to hear about this marathon team through Chrissy (employee at Horizons). Chrissy told me about it at my sister’s wedding that she was managing the Horizons for Homeless Children’s marathon team and that I should apply! Once I started looking into Horizons and the way they help homeless children and their families, I knew I wanted to run the marathon for Horizons!
Why did you choose to run for Horizons over other organizations with which you’re involved?
Kilson – I have been a runner for many years, and I have always wanted to run the Boston Marathon. I wanted to run for Horizons in 2017, but I applied too late. Professionally, I am an attorney who works with developers and lenders to build affordable housing in Massachusetts. Personally, I have always loved working with children whether as a camp counselor and basketball coach. The mission of Horizons for Homeless Children really speaks to my work and my interest in children. By running for Horizons for Homeless Children, I get to use my love of running as a mechanism to advance its objectives.
Brazel – I have always loved children and being around kids. I grew up babysitting and I was a camp counselor in high school! However, the main reason this team clicked with me was remembering my days back at Boston College when I was part of a program called “4Boston”. My placement was Casserly House, which is an after-school program for children. I volunteered there once a week. I would be there after school when the kids would get off the bus and they would light up when they saw me.
How have you been engaging your networks to fundraise towards your goal?
Kilson – For fundraising, I am at about 55% of my goal. This has all been through mass mailing of about 200 people, and I have been doing individual follow up as well. I am working on a larger raffle within my building.
For me training has been easier than the fundraising since this will be my second marathon. I have been following a 16-week plan that has been really helpful. I thoroughly enjoy running outside and have learned to wear the right clothing for this weather. I have already done four 18 miles runs and two 20 mile runs, and even did one 20 mile run in the freezing rain a few weeks ago! Nutrition has been key to my training, and I have been practicing what to eat on my runs. I love raisins instead of Gu.
Brazel –I knew fundraising was going to be tough, especially because of my age. Being only 24, I knew (and totally understand) that my friends aren’t in the position yet to donate huge amounts of money! I held a fundraiser at Hennessey’s back in January, and it helped spread the word early. There were a lot of people who couldn’t make it to the event, but they still donated to my page. I also am really lucky that my work passed around my fundraising page, so I got a lot of donations from my colleagues. Lastly, I sent around an email to my family/friends, and then my dad shared the email with his network as well.
For training, nutrition has also been key for me. I have been trying to eat the right meals at the right time, and eating a good meal a day or two before the long runs has helped me to have energy. Marathon training has taught me to drink lots of water and the importance of hydration. It also has been great to go to the John Furey long runs. I had a few ankle issues, but I went to the physical therapist, and learned some great new exercises that I am incorporating into my daily routine, and I haven’t had much pain since!
What has been the most challenging part of fundraising for you? What has been the most difficult part of training for you?
Kilson – Time has been my biggest challenge. For the fundraising, it has been difficult to take the time to do my outreach. For training, I have been really enjoying it, but it’s also difficult to find the time and energy to do the long runs. It takes a few hours to recover, and it takes away from time with your family and other activities that I enjoy.
Brazel – For fundraising, it was hard to actually hard to get people to just donate when I sent emails/posted online. I feel like everyone would say “I will donate another time”…and that delayed me for a long time since people forgot. I just had to stay on top of people to donate and keep posting my page on social media!
For training, the weather has been really difficult for me. It’s hard to get myself out the door when it’s been really cold and dark. Also, I agree with Hannah Kilson, that the long runs have been exhausting. It’s hard to do anything after those runs since I am so tired.
What will be the most rewarding part of this experience for you?
Kilson – The most rewarding part will be hitting my fundraising goal, and crossing the finish line! I love to run; it’s a core part of who I am. It’s so satisfying knowing that I am using my love of running to help homeless children and their families.
Brazel – I think the most rewarding part will be knowing that I helped so many kids. I am also so excited to run my first marathon, and I am doing it for an amazing cause.
What will be the first thing you eat after you run 26 miles?
Kilson – A rice bean burrito!
Brazel – LOTS of bread (definitely a few slices of pizza)!