Dear Family and Friends,
Welcome to my fundraising page for the 2012 Boston Marathon! I am excited to use my marathon experience as an opportunity to make a big impact on the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) which is a Harvard based charity that makes a big difference for Boston underprivileged youth. Although this letter is long, I hope that you will read it in its entirety and learn more about my race, PBHA, and how you can contribute.
As you are reading this letter, I can imagine that it would be a shock that I am running a marathon, especially the Boston Marathon. Only 3 years ago, I was a 285 pound offensive lineman who had never run more than two miles, let alone 26. However in the last three years my life has changed dramatically.
In the fall of 2009, my life was at all-time high. I had left my small pond of Avondale High School to compete with the best at Harvard University. In my wake, I left a great four years of high school, filled with great memories as a high school football captain, homecoming king, and leader of my class. However, Harvard presented a whole new challenge. When I arrived on campus I was determined to find my place and bust my tail to be great. I was on the football team and had a full load of pre-med classes to occupy my first few months away from home. Yet, I had no idea my first year at Harvard would change the trajectory of my life forever.
My first football practice with the Harvard University Crimson was electric. I had finally fulfilled my dream to play division one college football and I was going to make the most out of it. I will never forget when I ran on the field put my helmet on and smiled from ear to ear at my coaches and new teammates, I was ready to start another great career. However, as the season wore on, it became apparent that I wasn’t going to be the next great Harvard offensive lineman. I can remember vividly when my dad, the man who had “forced” me to play football as a youth, came up to me after parent’s weekend and said, “Son, are you sure you want to keep playing football? You’re 40 pounds lighter than the next lineman. You’re getting yourself killed.” After three months of daily practices, film sessions, and morning lifts, December rolled around and football season was over. As I looked back on my season I had had an awesome experience. I made many of my best friends at Harvard and experienced some of the greatest mentorship a freshman could ask for. But the great thing about football is it is a sport where facts win every time. At seasons end, I was both physically and mentally defeated. I knew that for my body’s sake my football career would have to be cut short.
After telling my coaches and teammates that I would not be returning to the team the following year, I found myself at a crossroads. For the past 7 years of my life football had defined my identity. In my mind, I had always been a football player first, everything else came second. What would I do with my new found free time? What would be my ‘thing’? The answers to those questions seemed far away, but I knew one thing was for sure, I had to get in shape. At 245 pounds I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t the face of good health either. I had watched both of my parents struggle with their weight for my entire life. Moreover, in less than a year I would lose three grandparents who all suffered from the effects of obesity. I was determined to be different. I began to dive into fitness and nutrition because I wanted to transform my body; that would be my new competition.
In addition to a strict diet and weight lifting, I began to introduce running in my regiment in order to shed extra pounds. What started off as 3 miles twice a week quickly became an obsession. Running was awesome. The sense of accomplishment and vitality I felt after every long run was intoxicating and I began to develop an insatiable appetite to run more and run farther. Only one thing could compare to my runner’s high, the feeling I used to get when I was a dominant football player; I had finally found a new passion and was determined to nurture it.
Since then, my love for running has only grown. From my short 3 mile loops that seemed like major accomplishments, I have now ran 5 races including two half-marathons (13.1 miles). However, I’m nowhere near satisfied. This summer, after running my first-half marathon, I reached out to my roommate, Robert Tamai, I said, “Hey man, let’s run Boston.” Robert looked at me blankly and replied, “Are you serious? I haven’t run in ages… You look serious. Let’s do it!” Quickly, after that conversation we both applied to join the Harvard College Marathon Challenge and were each blessed with slots on the coveted 2012 Boston Marathon Team.
As I write to you now, I am more energized than ever about running and the opportunity to participate in the 2012 Boston Marathon. With less than 100 days left until race day, my training is well under way and I’m excited to run my first full marathon. For me this marathon is bigger than a race. Finishing (in hopefully less than 4 hours!) will be a huge victory and affirmation of the transformation God has orchestrated in my life. I am determined to perform to the best of my abilities and truly appreciate your support in this effort.
In order to run the marathon, I have pledged to contribute at least $5200 to the Phillips Brook House Association (PBHA). PBHA is a Harvard-based charity that operates over 70 programs in the Boston-area. Specifically, the money I am able to raise will support the Summer Urban Program (SUP). SUP is a summer enrichment program for youth in Boston and Cambridge. Through 12 summer camps Harvard students are able to serve over 800 youth through educational enrichment and fun around Boston!
I really appreciate any support you can give to my effort. Whether your donation is large or small, every little bit helps. I am really excited to give back to the Boston and Harvard communities that have given so much to me in the past 3 years. Below is more information on how you can get involved and track my progress. Thank you very much for your support!
How to Donate!
- Go to my webpage and donate! http://www.crowdrise.com/hcmc12/fundraiser/AliEvans
- Donate via cash or check by sending in a written pledge form (see attached).
- Get a tax deduction for your donation: Go to Harvard College Marathon Challenge Tax Form
Other Ways to Get Involved:
- Join the Facebook event Ali Runs the 2012 Boston Marathon!and invite your friends and family.
- Follow me on Twitter for daily training updates! @alievans75
- Come out on race day and cheer for the Harvard College Marathon Team!
- Learn more about PBHA and SUP at www.pbha.org