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 15, 2019.
Name: Keith Russell
From: Charlestown, Massachusetts
Bib #: 26766
I’m Keith Russell, of Charlestown, Massachusetts, and I’m running to raise money for The Phoenix, a gym and sober active community in Newmarket Square that has been an important part of my personal recovery from substance use disorder. This is my first marathon, although growing up, I watched my dad train for and run the Boston Marathon multiple times. I remember biking alongside him on the Charles as he went out for his weekend long runs, going to the annual L Street Running Club pasta dinner, and most vividly, standing on a railing on the corner of Hereford and Boylston — anxiously waiting and then finally screaming with excitement as he rounded that corner on his way toward the finish.
On Marathon Monday 2011, I was just starting to get sober again and found myself back on Boylston Street. I was overcome with the same emotions and memories that I had been disconnected from for so long, put out by years of addiction. In that moment the desire to run was reignited and I reconnected to those childhood dreams. I am running to honor my dad, the countless friends I‘ve lost to this disease and pave the way for the thousands who will walk into The Phoenix this year. I want to show that things like this are possible for people like us. I had always wanted to run a marathon, but because of my struggle with addiction, I never thought it would be possible.
Editor’s note: Entry may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.