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Woman to run Boston Marathon for Leukemia research

Date: 12/23/2010

Dec. 27, 2010

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM -- For almost anyone who has run a marathon, crossing the finish line is one of the most rewarding things they have ever done.

But for Kate McLaren, in addition to the satisfaction of finishing, there will be a profound feeling of knowing she made a difference.

McLaren, a native of Wilbraham and 2001 graduate of Minnechaug Regional High School, is taking part in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LSS) Team in Training (TNT) program to raise money for cancer research. With a goal of $3,250, McLaren is looking for donations in advance of the 2011 Boston Marathon.

"I want to dedicate my training to a higher purpose it makes it much easier to get out of bed at 6 a.m. on a Saturday to run in freezing temperatures if you know that there is a real purpose, mission, and goal to what you are doing ... beyond just completing 26.2 miles," McLaren said. "Not only will I be fulfilling a lifetime goal for myself (running a marathon Boston in particular, one of the oldest and most challenging) but I am helping to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma."

Overall, the TNT Boston Marathon team is aiming to raise $1 million for cancer research and to help defray the cost of treatment for families.

"I may not have grown up to be an oncologist or cancer researcher, but this is my way of helping to find a cure for a disease that has affected so many lives," McLaren said. "I am hoping that my participation in Team in Training will help bring hope and support to others who have been affected by these diseases."

McLaren, who earned a PhD in sport and exercise psychology from Springfield College, said she first "caught the running bug" by training for a half marathon while in California during a six-month faculty appointment in the kinesiology program at Cal State Fullerton.

Now back in Massachusetts working for The Education Alliance, a higher education and sports management consulting firm in Natick, McLaren is ready to tackle an even greater feat, with the help of TNT.

"In return for all the hard work and fundraising efforts participants like myself do, TNT provides a running program a five month breakdown of what we should be doing each day," McLaren explained. "We even have two coaches that meet with us each week and are absolutely fantastic."

TNT's Boston Marathon group gathers in Wellesley for long runs and offers guest speakers on the topics of nutrition, injury prevention and running form. In addition to that, team members continuously offer motivation for others in the group.

"Right before we run each week a different team member speaks to the group about their connection with blood cancer as a motivational reminder about what we are there for," McLaren said.

McLaren has a very personal link to cancer.

"I lost my grandfather to cancer and knew I wanted to become involved in a cancer organization," McLaren said. "I am also running to honor two family friends, one who lost his battle to multiple myeloma on Jan. 22, 2008 at the age of 45 and one who fought his battle as a child and is now 10 years lymphoma free."

McLaren said the impact cancer has had on her family and friends has helped remind her that it is the kind of thing that affects people of every age, everywhere.

"So many families have been affected by blood cancers. Currently, almost 1 million Americans suffer from leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. Children in particular are at high risk for leukemia over one third of all cancer cases among children are a form of leukemia which is particularly tragic."

Those who wish to help McLaren achieve her fundraising goal can securely donate online by visiting

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