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Running for Boston: Inspiring stories from 2024 marathoners

Ahead of the Boston Marathon® Presented by Bank of America, locals share what made them fall in love with running and what keeps them on the track.

The world’s oldest marathon, the Boston Marathon, is a prestigious race not just among New Englanders but across the globe. Whether fundraising for a charity, admiring the athleticism on display, or finding the resilience to push past “Heartbreak Hill,” runners and spectators from all over come together every Marathon Monday.

Completing a marathon is a remarkable accomplishment both physically and mentally, but what makes a runner choose to run those 26.2 miles? Here, four local runners share how they got their start in running, what keeps them going, and what has led them to run the 2024 Boston Marathon.  

“I run to be as fast as possible.”

For Boston resident Andrew Erskine, running challenges him to be his best. “In marathon running, the amount of time and effort you put in strongly correlates to your end results,” he says. The 32-year-old, who started running as a high school freshman, currently runs with Battle Road Track Club, an elite, post-collegiate racing team.

A man in a green tank top running a marathon on a closed down road.
Boston resident Andrew Erskine running in a race.

Erskine credits running for most of his friendships. “I really enjoy the social part of running. Most training runs I meet up with someone or a group, and it’s enough social engagement to get me through the day.” He’s also grateful for how it affects his well-being, noting that running makes for “pretty good self-therapy,” offering a time to decompress and daydream.  

While Erskine’s completed a number of marathons already, he’s excited to finally run Boston this April in his own backyard. “I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends along the course.”


“Running makes me a better person.”

Tiffany DaSilva, 43, initially started running seven years ago to help maintain a 180-pound weight loss, though she quickly learned the benefits went beyond the physical. She attributes running to pushing her outside her comfort zone, helping to build resilience.

“Every run is different and they don’t always go as planned.” Tiffany DaSilva

So when the unexpected happens, she focuses on the positives and the learnings from her runs.

For years, DaSilva convinced herself that a marathon was not something she was physically or mentally capable of. But through overcoming self-doubt and unlocking the potential to achieve what she deems as “my impossible,” DaSilva will run the Boston Marathon this year through her employer, Point32Health, a sponsor of the marathon.

A man and a woman, wearing a race medal, smile for a photo in front of a large sign that says "B. A. A."
Tiffany DaSilva and her husband, John.

Her biggest source of inspiration comes from her husband, John, who overcame a brain injury that changed the trajectory of his life. For her marathon fundraising, DaSilva has chosen to support the Brain Aneurysm Foundation

“I consider myself incredibly lucky for this opportunity,” she says.

“I run to carry on what my grandfather and uncle started.”

Nashua, N.H., resident Troy Hoyt grew up hearing the phrase, “yes you can” from his grandfather, Dick Hoyt, the co-founder of the Hoyt Foundation: a nonprofit focused on expanding inclusion in sports for people with disabilities. Starting in 1977, Dick began pushing his son Rick (Troy’s uncle) in his wheelchair for a five-mile benefit run and by the 2009 Boston Marathon, Team Hoyt completed their 1000th race.

A man running and pushing the wheelchair of another man during a marathon surrounded by another runner and spectators behind a barricade.
Troy Hoyt and his uncle Rick compete in a race. 

As a runner himself for more than 10 years, Hoyt, 26, finds motivation through “yes you can” anytime he’s questioning the distance of a run.

“The thing I love most about running is that it lets you test your limits, and it really shows you what you’re capable of doing.” Troy Hoyt

He’s also appreciative of the mental health benefits running brings, including being able to clear his mind, reconnect with himself, and enjoy the outdoors.

This year, Hoyt will carry on the legacy of his grandfather and uncle by running the Boston Marathon. He recalls watching them cross the finish line each year. “Seeing the impact they had on millions and the energy they brought to the crowd as they ran down Boylston Street was all the inspiration I needed to decide I wanted to run Boston.”


“I have made so many lifelong friends through running.”

Paulette Murphy, 67, of North Attleboro, Mass., says that her start with running was a result of being a spectator, wishing she could do what the runners were doing. Eventually, she gave it a shot. “I am very uncoordinated but knew I could put one foot in front of the other,” she shares. 

Three women smile and pose for a photo while wearing running attire.
Paulette Murphy, middle, pictured with her running friends.

Running has been the start to many of Murphy’s friendships. She recalls coming across a pack of coyotes while running with a friend one day. While that friend managed to scare them off, they soon after warned another group of runners they saw. Those runners became lifelong friends of Murphy’s, with her husband aptly naming them the “Go Go Girls.” She goes on to share that they’ve been there for one another through divorce, illness, children, weddings, and menopause. “These are wonderful supportive women whose friendships I will always treasure.”

While Murphy has hung up her sneakers when it comes to marathons, the only one she’s willing to make an exception for is Boston. Thanks to Tufts Health Plan’s “Catch the Unicorn” opportunity, Murphy was awarded a marathon bib for this year. She muses, “Running Boston will be the experience I have dreamed of since I watched my first Boston Marathon. I will no longer be a spectator; I will be a runner.”

After reading this article, to what degree do you agree with the following statement?

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, Point32Health companies, are committed to supporting physical and mental health for people of all ages and life stages.

Point32Health is a not-for-profit health and well-being organization, guiding and empowering healthier lives for all. Through every mile and milestone, our family of companies – Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan – supports members and their families with whole-health benefits and solutions. Point32Health is the official health insurance provider of the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) and sponsor of the B.A.A. medley races, including the Boston Marathon, B.A.A. Half, and the Boston 10K, as well as the presenting sponsor of the Boston 5K.


This content was written by the advertiser and edited by Studio/B to uphold The Boston Globe's content standards. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its writing, production, or display.