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Keane brings competitive spirit to Boston Marathon

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Featured

Danielle Keane

As a teacher, Danielle Keane appreciates organizations like the Hopkinton Education Foundation, for which she is raising money as part of her Boston Marathon run.

Danielle Keane’s first time running the Boston Marathon was memorable for all the wrong reasons. An unofficial runner in 2013, she had nearly made it to the finish line when the bombs went off on Boylston Street.

Keane returned to the race the following three years with a bib, running for different charities, and she is set to make her return this spring.

“Running the last couple of times was grueling, the training was hard and I had some difficult marathons, so it wasn’t as fun for me,” she said.

But life’s challenges slowly brought Keane back to running. Over the past year, her father has battled cancer. So has her husband, Tom, the longtime boys basketball coach at Hopkinton High School.

“I started running for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, shorter races,” Keane said.

The shorter races became a half-marathon and, last November, Keane held an 8-minute-per-mile pace for the Boston Athletic Association half-marathon on her father’s birthday.

“I had not done that pace in a long time,” she said. “So I started putting feelers out for a bib for the Boston Marathon.”

Keane found her match with the Hopkinton Education Foundation (hopkintoneducationfoundation.org), which provides grants for teachers and students to help develop and grow educational programming in Hopkinton. As a teacher and the wife of a teacher and coach, Keane jumped at the chance.

“When they asked if I would be interested, I didn’t think twice,” the Northbridge resident said. “Hopkinton provides excellent education for students, but this goes above and beyond that.”

But Keane said she doesn’t just want to finish the race, she is hoping to continue the improvement she has shown in her training.

“I am extremely competitive by nature,” Keane said. “In the spring, when I started going out for jogs, I was proud because it had been a good eight years since I had run at all, and I just started watching my pace go down.”

Keane runs with a group of friends who compete with her in the Falmouth Road Race every summer, and the camaraderie has driven her to continue to lower her times. But Keane knows that the long and difficult terrain from Hopkinton to Boston and the unpredictability of mid-April New England weather is always a challenge.

“I do have a goal in mind,” she said. “But, having run it so many times, you just don’t know what the temperature is going to be on race day. You could be sick, you might have an injury, but I am trying to set a practical goal of under four hours.”

Training, she said, has been going well, but she has bucked the normal trend of sticking to a step-by-step plan. Keane instead is focusing on logging enough miles and maintaining a pace that feels like one she will be able to maintain on race day.

And while Boston always is a challenge, the energy of the day is something that cannot be replicated during her training runs.

“I feel confident that I can do it on race day, because Boston is so magical,” Keane said. “You get out there and you’re so inspired by the spectators on the course and the other runners and the charities they are running for.”

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