Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon Faces of the Field: Paul McCarron

Dan Darcy

In April, our plan was to launch our “Faces of the Field” campaign and highlight some runners you’d see cross the finish line of the 124th Boston Marathon. Obviously, the Marathon is now virtual, so we asked our group to tell us their 2020 Virtual Boston Marathon feels, plans, and expectations! Everyone meet Paul! (Fun fact: Paul works for Marathon Sports!)


It’s not uncommon to hear someone say their favorite day in Boston is Marathon Monday. Of course, there’s the party-like atmosphere but I like to think it also has to do with people feeling good knowing they’re playing a role in helping others complete a significant accomplishment.

I’ve had the privilege of running a number of marathons. Being a Boston native, I’m biased, but it’s my opinion the Boston spectators are the best! In 2012, when temperatures reached into the high 80s, the support was incredible. It seemed like every 30 meters someone had fluids, ice, fruit, popsicles, hoses, etc. to help the runners get to Boylston St.

After hearing about a runner handing out thank-you notes during a marathon, I started doing this at Boston 2013. It’s a small gesture but a sincere one around why I’m so proud of my hometown and this special race.

This year will be my 22nd consecutive Boston. All have been run, including the 12 years when I was qualified, for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through their Team in Training program. I’ve been an LLS volunteer since the mid-80s and remember when TNT started. Encouraged by a friend who ran the Honolulu Marathon for TNT, I signed up to run the 1999 Boston Marathon in honor of a friend who’d been diagnosed with leukemia and the special people I’d met through LLS. I’ve always been impressed that people who lost a loved one to a blood cancer remained active as volunteers and donors. It’s clear to me LLS must be doing valuable work otherwise why would these people continue to support them. The valuable work is advocacy, patient services and raising funds for research.

Something unique to blood cancer is a number of universal cancer treatments (bone marrow transplants, immunotherapy and targeted medicines) were derived from blood cancer research and treatments (

A special purpose for this year’s run is to honor the memory of a friend’s daughter. Lilly was my Honored Hero for the last two Boston Marathons. She passed last October, just a few days shy of her 14th birthday. Lilly had a treatable cancer but the treatments wreaked havoc on her body. So many children with cancer have to deal with adult treatments that are too harsh for their young bodies. For this reason, LLS started the LLS Children’s Initiative (

It was an easy decision to participate in this year’s virtual Boston. Organizations like LLS are being hit hard by the pandemic. They need to continue their efforts so support this year is as important as ever. Also, I don’t want to delay running for Lilly.

My virtual course will have me “running around the block”. Growing up in the neighborhood where I still live, friends and I would run fifty and one hundred yard dashes. When we felt crazy we would run around the block (about a 1/2 mile). There is a one mile version of “the block” so I’ll mostly run that with a few traditional “blocks” thrown in to honor the good ol’ days. The course will be logistically easy and rather wacky; two attributes I tend to appreciate. Also, the entire course will be in Boston so it’ll be a “Boston Marathon”!

My fundraising page is I thank you for the consideration of a donation!


Author: Amanda P.

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