Hopkinton resident Jeff Doyle is taking part in the 2023 Boston Marathon in memory of a childhood friend and in support of a cause that is helping numerous families with children who are seeking medical care in Boston.
Doyle is running for Live4Evan, which was founded in memory of Evan Girardi, who passed away in 2010 due to complications stemming from a congenital heart defect. Doyle and some of his friends set up a charity in Girardi’s memory, and Doyle has been tapped to run this year’s Boston Marathon to raise funds (givengain.com/activist/533972/).
“He was great, he was probably the nicest person that anybody had ever met,” Doyle said. “You could always rely on him for anything you needed and I think that’s why this has grown as big as it has. Everybody had a connection to Evan.”
Live4Evan provides housing for families traveling to the Boston area so their children can be treated for congenital heart defects.
“People are flying in from all over because we have the best hospitals,” Doyle said. “The idea is to provide housing for those families when they are in need so they don’t end up sleeping on the hospital floor. They can get a good night’s rest before going through this challenging time.”
This is Doyle’s second year running the marathon for Live4Evan. Last year, he got sick just days before the race and the already challenging course became even more so. This year, he is hopeful for good weather and better health. Either way, his friend will be top of mind as he tackles the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Copley Square.
Doyle recalled playing backyard soccer with Girardi and a group of friends for hours on end during summer days before heading off to someone’s pool for a swim. When they weren’t outdoors, they spent time playing hockey video games.
The charity in Girardi’s memory has continued to grow through the years and, even as it serves more families in need, Doyle said there is a wait list for people to get in.
Doyle said his official fundraising goal is $10,000, but he is hoping the final tally is closer to the $17,000 he raised last year, or even more. He joked that he intentionally set a low bar in terms of his finishing time last year so that it would be easy to top this time around.
“Trying to run Heartbreak Hill last year while being sick was a struggle,” Doyle said. “Hopefully this day will be a little easier.”
Being a Hopkinton resident who lives just steps from the start line, he said it’s a joy to be able to run his hometown race.
“The whole race is awesome, from start to finish,” Doyle said. “I ran into so many people from high school and college and it’s a great motivator. Every time you see somebody, it gives you a little shot of adrenaline.”
He added with a chuckle, “You want to look good out there.”
I ran Live4Evan 5k road race 4 x within the last decade and placed #1 every time for my age group. The race was no longer done in the town of Hopkinton, of which I have been a resident for the last 37 years. I am so glad to have played a large part in the support of the cause. I raised 5 children, all graduates of Hopkinton High. Eight of the 11 grandchildren of my husband Bob and I have lived in Hopkinton, where 2 have graduated from the high school and 6 are still enrolled in a great school system. I know other members of my family have participated also in the road race.