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Math Professor Will Run in Boston Marathon to Raise Money for Scholarships

Major race sponsor, John Hancock, provides special opportunity

Math Professor Bernadette Boyle

Sacred Heart University Professor Bernadette Boyle plans to parlay her participation in the Boston Marathon in April into a fundraiser for scholarships before she even steps on the starting line. She intends to accomplish that through an online fundraising page and talking to family, friends and colleagues.

Boyle’s opportunity came about through Todd Cassler ’01, a member of the Board of Visitors for SHU’s Jack Welch College of Business. Cassler works for John Hancock Investments, a major sponsor of the marathon, as president of Financial Institutions and Advisory Solutions. A University email went out to all students, faculty and staff, asking for those interested in participating in the marathon to send back an email with a biography, details of running ability and experience. Boyle was selected from the respondents.

“It was always on my bucket list to run in a marathon,” said Boyle, a lifelong runner. The 32-year-old Fairfield native has been teaching math at SHU since the fall of 2012 and is a faculty mentor for SHU’s track and cross-country teams. She participated on such teams at Notre Dame High School in Fairfield and in college, and she has run in half marathons and 5K and 10K events.

The Providence College and University of Notre Dame alumna was excited to learn of the opportunity as running a marathon is high on her bucket list. “It took me a couple of days to respond to the email. I know what goes into training, so I had to truly commit to this,” she said.

Ultimately, Boyle applied for the lottery. Before leaving cross-country practice one day with the other coaches, she checked her email and learned that she would represent SHU in the marathon. “We were all pretty happy,” she said. “I am excited for this; I’m proud to represent SHU and John Hancock.”

Since receiving the news, Boyle has been training almost every day. She said she runs six days a week and does plenty of core exercises. Despite many harsh, below-freezing days in December and January, she has continued running outside. “I really dislike the treadmill,” Boyle said. “Running outside in the cold, it’s more of a mental test. You have to be mentally tough to run a marathon.”

April’s weather can be warm or cold, so training in frozen conditions is preparing Boyle for the very worst. “I’m going to prepare for anything, and I’m going to take whatever I’m given and go for it,” she declared.

Boyle said she has received plenty of encouragement and motivation from colleagues as she trains to get in prime shape for the race. “I’m nervous, but it’s a good nervous,” she said. “I’m confident I’ll be ready.”

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