Running or walking, with real cause

The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden Cancer Support Center
Participants in last year’s Healing Garden Walk/Ride to Thrive included the very young.

Judging strictly from my bloated e-mail in-box, the quickest way to get runners and walkers out of the woodwork is to pen a column on charity bike rides. Not to be outdone, dozens of runners and walkers reminded me that there are numerous terrific charity walk/runs this fall in Eastern Massachusetts.

“Being involved in a charity event, whether volunteering or running it, gives me a sense of purpose,” said Hopkinton’s Cheryl Asselin, whose favorite charity event is the Sharon Timlin Race to Cure ALS. “It also has shown me how much hope and inspiration can be gained by being a part of something bigger.

“I had the pleasure of making a difference in a lot of people’s lives who had been affected by ALS,” said Asselin. “It was clear to me on the day of the event how much the support from the race means to the families affected by the disease.”


Like Asselin, who started running in her 20s, Grafton’s Kate Mullaney began pounding the pavement in 2008 to get fit.

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“I was in my late 20s and working in the restaurant industry,” said Mullaney. “I started to realize that I needed a lifestyle change, and running was an excellent vehicle for it.”

But Mullaney also realized that participating in charity events gave her even more reason to run.

“Following the 2013 Boston Marathon attack, I was ready to turn my passion for training for and running marathons into something that would help others,” she said. “After a dear friend passed away suddenly in early 2016, I applied to become a runner for Team MR8 — the Martin Richard Foundation.

“We raise funds for initiatives in athletics, education, and community,” she said. “The Boston Marathon was so special to my late friend, like it is to so many Bostonians. By honoring Martin when I run, I’m also honoring my friend.”


Beverly’s Katelyn Page, who ran in the 2017 on behalf of the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation, concurred.

“Just knowing that every dollar I raised helped make me feel like it was all worth it,” said Page.

Similarly, Weston’s Neil Wallack said there are “a few special aspects of participating in charity sporting events.”

“The first is the benefit of turning hard work into good outcomes,” said Wallack. “We all train many hours for these events. Donors appreciate that and they want to support our efforts, and they clearly understand that these efforts correspond to our deep connection with and desire to make change — to cure diseases, to help people in need, and so on.

“It’s almost always personal. We give donors an opportunity to understand our causes and motivations and to support them,” he said. “The second, special aspect is the team spirit. Being part of a charity team is motivating in its own right, as we work together for a common cause.”

Here’s a handful of popular local charity run/walk events. For a more complete listing featuring dozens of events in eastern Massachusetts, visit .

North of Boston


 The Sweets N’ Sweats Run/Walk Oct. 1 in Amesbury supports scholarships for new programs at the Amesbury Youth Recreation Department.

 The seventh annual Newburyport Half Marathon Oct. 22 benefits a number of area charities, including the Newburyport Parks and Recreation Department, the Friends of Newburyport Track, Our Neighbors Table, and the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center.

 The Veterans Day Memorial Run/Walk 5K and 11K Nov. 11 in Stoneham supports Helping Our Troops, The Skate for the 22 Foundation, and local veterans services.

 The Seaside Santa 5-Miler Dec. 17 in Gloucester benefits the Enjoy Gloucester Foundation. The Gloucester High School ROTC and Hanscom military reservists will also host a toy drive for Toys for Tots.

West of Boston

 The Perennial Walk/Ride to Thrive Oct. 1 in Harvard benefits the Healing Garden Cancer Support Center, offering therapeutic movement and exercise services for patients undergoing cancer treatments.

 The Rock the GazBar 5K Oct. 8 in Leominster benefits local breast cancer patients and research at Simonds-Sinon Regional Cancer Center.

 The Scarecrow 5K Oct. 15 in Lincoln supports the Lincoln Land Conservation Trust, which manages more than 2,000 acres of land and nearly 80 miles of public trails.

 The fifth annual Pam’s Run 5K/10K Oct. 15 in Wayland supports Neighbor Brigade, which established community-specific networks of volunteers to help residents in crisis, and honors the legacy its founder, the late Pam Manikas Washek.

South of Boston

 The Houghton’s Pond Trail Race in Milton Oct. 1 benefits the Friends of the Blue Hills, which helps maintain trails in the reservation and advocates its protection.

 The 11th annual Kayla’s Beat Goes On 5K Oct. 1 in Plymouth is held in memory of Kayla Erin Richards, and benefits the Jordan Hospital Club for Nursing Scholarships at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth.

 Grumpy’s Cranberry Harvest 5K Nov. 4 in Wareham benefits the Cranberry Educational Foundation.

Upcoming event

Local cyclists will want to mark Saturday, Sept. 30, on their calendars, when climate scientist David Goodrich is speaking at EBSCO Hall, 5 Peatfield St., Ipswich. Goodrich, an avid cyclist and former director of the United Nations Global Climate Observing System in Switzerland, wrote “Hole in the Wind, A Climate Scientist’s Bicycle Journey Across the United States.” The memoir is based on his 4,200-mile pedal from Delaware to Oregon, and the discussions he had regarding climate change along the way. Goodrich speaks at 3 p.m. E-mail for details.

If you have an idea for the Globe’s “On the Move” column, contact correspondent Brion O’Connor at Please allow at least a month’s advance notice.