Why I’m Running: Jennipher Ray is running Boston in memory of her lifelong friend, Keith ‘Beefa’ Hall

"I told him I would run this year in his honor, but am heartbroken to be running in his memory instead."

Keith "Beefa" Hall and Jennipher Ray. –Courtesy

In our “Why I’m Running” series, Boston Marathon runners share what’s inspiring them to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston on April 16, 2018. Editor’s note: Due to the number of submissions already received, we are no longer accepting entries for this year’s race.

Name: Jennipher Ray
Age: 51
From: Milton
Bib #: 25365

Jennipher Ray, during the 2014 Boston Marathon. —Courtesy

I first ran the Boston Marathon in my 20s, then continued into my 30s, ran one in my 40s, and now will run my eighth at age 51. I thought I was done with marathons until my lifelong friend Keith “Beefa” Hall was told his cancer had returned last April. I told him I would run this year in his honor, but am heartbroken to be running in his memory instead. I’m raising money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and am incredibly thankful for my supporters who have helped me raise more than $11,000 for innovative cancer research. As the aches and pains of age creep into my body during my training runs, I remind myself how blessed I am to be here — so many loved ones, friends, neighbors, and colleagues didn’t get that privilege. As I run, I chant the names of those I’ll be wearing on my back on Marathon Monday — among them Keith, my two beloved aunts Judy and Marcia, and other angels like Matty Dubuc, Brian Liburd, Bridget Slotemaker, Tim Sylvia, Elizabeth Ray, and so many others.

Check out our entire “Why I’m Running” series.

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Editor’s note: Entries may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.