On one of the coldest days in Boston Marathon history, Desiree Van Oosting toed the starting line in a shower cap. She is one of the four runners who ran under a charity bib for the Massage Therapy Foundation to raise money for research.

On one of the coldest days in Boston Marathon history, Desiree Van Oosting toed the starting line in a shower cap.

“It was one of the better tools to keep your head dry,” Van Oosting, an LMT from New Salem, North Dakota, said. She admitted that she never thought she would have to run a marathon in a shower cap.

She is one of the four runners who ran under a charity bib for the Massage Therapy Foundation to raise money for research. Each member had to raise $10,000. As of April 27, the team had raised a total of $59,380 of their collective $63,000 goal, according to the foundation’s fundraising page on crowdrise.com.

The team was made up of Lindsay Bodkin, an LMT from South Glen Falls, New York; Shadonne Harris, an LMT from Odenton, Maryland; Teresa Matthews, an LMT from Jacksonville, Florida; and Desiree Van Oosting, an LMT from New Salem, North Dakota.

The purpose of the Massage Therapy Foundation charity bib is to advance the practice and knowledge of massage therapy through education and research.

When the team got to the course, a bus dropped them off at the starting line.

“We were literally stuck in the mud,” Matthews said. It was freezing—32 degrees and windy. They were shoulder to shoulder with other runners and didn’t have an opportunity to stretch or warm up. “Our feet were covered in mud before we even started.”

Teresa Matthews wore compression sleeves and compression shorts and tights. Her clothes were so wet that she said she couldn’t feel anything other than cold. When she got to water stops along the course, she said her hands were shaking and red; she had trouble grasping the cup.

She said the energy at the marathon, though, was amazing. At 55 years old, she said this was her first marathon. For the first few miles she was in the moment, she said.

“I was just thinking, ‘I’m out for another run,’” she said. At mile 17 her calves started to tighten. “As I was stopping I think my body realized that it was in a marathon.”

Running for the Profession

She was encouraged by the fact that she was running for the massage therapy profession. “The love and support was just overpowering,” she said.

Desiree Van Oosting said that it was her first time running the Boston Marathon and would do it again.

Like many runners, Oosting came to the Boston Marathon with a purpose. About ten years ago, a client inspired her to run. “He was running by my office building and decided to pop in and get an appointment before running to the Boston Marathon,” she said. He inspired her to start running, and she bought shoes the next day.

Lindsay Bodkin said that she ran her first half marathon in Fort Lauderdale in February and had nice, sunny weather. In Boston, she ran with a pancho.

“The spectators really help you get through it,” Bodkin said. People lined Heart Break Hill holding posters with encouragement, cheering on the runners. At one point in the race, she said that one guy shouted, ‘You all are wicked strong!’

“I think it’s awesome being a charity runner,” Bodkin said. “It was amazing to see the people in the community able to be there and support us for our cause.”

For Shadonne Harris, the fundraising was one of the most difficult parts. “You have to use several different avenues,” she said. She used Facebook and Instagram in addition to reaching out to her community. As a small business owner, her clients, as well as her community, were a large portion of her donors, she noted.

For anyone wanting to race on the MTF team next year, Harris has two pieces of advice: When you are selected, start early with fundraising.

“Do a lot of cross events with business owners and other businesses,” she said. “Network to get sponsors.”

She also says to commit to your training plan. Schedule it on your calendar so you are sure to have the time blocked off.

Everyone on the team finished the marathon—an incredible feat for such cold, windy conditions.

“The whole experience and journey was amazing,” Harris said. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

About the Author

Hannah Fell is the associate editor for MASSAGE Magazine and Chiropractic Economics magazine.

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