Community‎ > ‎

Boston Marathon

The 2014 Boston "Strong!" Marathon
Ashland Special Programs & Community Gift Fundraiser Event

Donate Online!
Town of Ashland uses National Processing for accepting secure online credit card donations.

Donate by Check:
*Include the Name of Your Runner in the memo area of the check. 

Mail check to: 
Town of Ashland
Boston Marathon Fundraiser 
c/o Susan Robie 
101 Main Street 
Ashland, MA 01721 

The Race is already on! 
With your Help, our Runner's have Raised!!

2014 Funds Raised!

Our 2014 Runners!    

Jen Bolanos

My name is Jennifer Bolanos and I am honored to be running the Boston Marathon on behalf of Ashland. Although I am not a resident of Ashland, I do have a personal connection.  My brother, Michael Caira is the principal of the Henry E. Warren Elementary School.  As a former elementary school teacher and a mother of three children attending public schools, public education is extremely important to me.  It is my hope that a portion of the money raised will go directly into the education system in Ashland.  
​I first started running my freshman year in high school.  After graduating from Boston College, I ran the Boston Marathon in 1997.  It was an amazing experience and one that I will not forget.  I am truly looking forward to repeating this experience on April 21, 2014. Donate

Lori Franzella
My name is Lori Franzella and I have been an Ashland resident for almost 10 years. My husband, Jerry and I have two children, Jacob and Cora who attend the Warren School. I am a speech language pathologist in the Newton Public Schools and love having the summers to spend with my family. I’m relatively new to running, starting only a few years ago at the suggestion of my husband. Through running, I have found a way to physically and mentally help manage the busy life of a working mother and wife, as well as surround myself with a wonderful group of women that have broadened my Ashland family. Ashland’s first half marathon in 2012 fueled my desire to set a new personal goal of 13.1 miles, a mileage I would never have dreamed of attempting before. I’m excited and honored to have the opportunity to run double that for our town in the 2014 Boston Marathon! This year the marathon means so much to so many people and I will run my hardest to keep both BOSTON and ASHLAND STRONG.  Donate

Jennifer Freels

My name is Jennifer Freels.   My husband Mark and I moved to Ashland in 2004. We have two sons, Jacob (8) and Braden (5).  Neither of us grew up in Massachusetts, but we fell in love with this town when we were searching for our first house.  We have proudly called Ashland our home ever since.  This will be my first marathon and I am honored to run it for the town of Ashland.  Without the amazing group of women that I train with on a weekly basis, I would never be able to run this race.  I am proud to say that I will be running with 4 of these women!  We love to the run the streets of Ashland and are out there often – so honk if you see us! Donate

Melissa Linehan

I have been an Ashland resident since 2003.  My husband Parry and I have two fantastic boys, Jake (6) and Charlie (4) who attend Ashland Public Schools.  I began running in 2012 encouraged by my friend Lori Franzella.  Through running I have been able to meet a fantastic group of women that support each other every week.  Four of whom I will be tackling this challenge with!  I have now completed the 2012 Ashland Half as well as the Dublin half marathon this past summer.  Running has provided me with an opportunity to become more involved with the Ashland community.  We have attended the marathon every year with our children and I am very excited to have my boys see their mom get off the sidewalk and be one of the runners.  Boston will be my first marathon and I am thrilled to be running it for the town of Ashland. 

Scott Motyka
I’ve been working for the Town of Ashland for thirteen years as her Information Technology Director. The incredible sense of community Ashland’s residents and businesses have is something very special and admirable to say the least.  When the opportunity to run the historic Boston Marathon this year came up, I jumped at the chance. Being a runner, I was of course interested to run Boston, but the notion I could also raise money to give something back to such a strong community and to one that has given me so much throughout my career was a bonus.  I am an avid long distance runner and have been running for about 8 years now.  In that time, I have run multiple marathons and a few ultra marathon distances of 50k and 40 miles.  What makes this Boston Marathon so extra special for me is in addition to being “Boston Strong”, I will be joining my sister who is also running the course.  With that, our grandfather happened to be an incredible fan of the Boston Marathon; when he was alive, he could be found each year, all throughout the 1970’s, at various junctions of the course, watching the runners admirably.  To think just a few decades later, with the aligning of the stars, that both of his grandchildren would be running the race together is going to make this truly an incredible day! Donate

Patty O'Neil
My name is Patty O'Neil and I am a proud resident and now official "townie" of Ashland, MA.  I am 47 and running my first marathon as well as participating in my first sporting event ever!  I have a wonderful husband and three children who mean the world to me!  This challenge came about because of the television show I was so proud to be a cast member of and eventual winner of which was aptly named for the thousands of marathon heroes from The Boston Marathon 2013, "THE HERO".   Starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and with his incredible "Rock Team" I was able to overcome many lifelong fears and face courage I never thought I had inside of me.  Being a part of this historic run is probably the most humbling experience I will ever have, and running for such a wonderful town and their services truly "brings me to tears".  I cannot wait to cross the finish line in Boston and honor the everyday heroes who truly make our lives a better place!  Bob, Connor, Alex and Madeline, thank you!! Donate

Andrew Simon
My name is Andrew Simon and I live in Medway with my wonderful wife, Kailene, and our two beautiful children, Bennett and Emerson.  While I am not an Ashland resident, I have lived in the area my whole life and my family and I are tied to the town in several ways.  Last year, Ashland collaborated with the running team at my wife’s company, Genzyme, to provide waivers for the 2013 marathon while generating support for important town projects.  I had once promised that I would complete at least one marathon in my lifetime, so as Kai prepared for the race, I trained alongside her despite not having a number to run with officially.  We made it 25.7 miles on race day before everything in Boston came to a screeching halt.  I was content not having a number last year because I was running for myself, just to see if I could.  After the race ended for us last year, I knew that couldn’t be my only version of the Boston marathon.  I also knew that if I was going to try again, I was going to do it on the record, not just as a face in the crowd.  This year I am very fortunate to be part of the Ashland team.  Please help support me as I run for Ashland, the second of eight towns that form the greatest, most historically significant marathon in the country! Donate

Meg Thomson

My name is Meg Thomson and live here in Ashland with my fiancé, Doug, and our dog, Meekah. I am honored to be running the 2014 Boston Marathon with Team Ashland for the second time. This will be my fourth full marathon! Raising money for charity has always been a passion of mine and this fundraiser is no different. I want to thank you in advance for your generous donation in support of community and social services programs for this great little town! Hope to see you out on the roads as I train and cheering loudly along Route 135 on April 21st! Donate

Dara Washburn

My name is Dara Washburn. I have lived in Ashland since I was 8 years old and my husband Tom and I are proud to be raising our family here. Both of my daughters, Cassie (8) and Chelsea (5) are in the Ashland school system. I am very honored to be running in the Boston Marathon on behalf of the town of Ashland. I have watched almost every Boston Marathon pass through Ashland since I was a young girl and it is always a thrill to cheer the runners on. I took up running in 2009 and have gotten pretty serious about the sport within the last two years. I have completed four half marathons and many other races around Massachusetts and I enjoy running every week with an incredible group of women from Ashland. Donate

Jennifer Whitkens

My name is Jennifer Whitkens.  I am a forty-year old Mom of two wonderful girls.  I have lived in Ashland for the past ten years and am eager to raise money on behalf of my neighborhood.  This will be my second marathon, having completed the Boston Marathon a decade ago.  I also ran the Half-Marathon in the town of Ashland for the past two years with a great group of fellow Ashland women.  A lot of people, including my husband, think that I am crazy for running another marathon.  But I am psyched to start the training process.  I am especially excited knowing that my efforts will be going to a great cause:  supporting the Town of Ashland’s Special Programs and Social Services.  Go Clockers! Donate

Team Genzyme Running for Ashland "Boston Strong!" 2014

Shariq Ali 
I am Head of Rare Diseases Medical Communications and Education at Genzyme and have spent most of my biotechnology industry career serving the rare disease patient community. An avid long distance runner, I’ve completed two marathons and numerous half marathons. I live with my wife and two daughters in Westwood, Mass. It is my absolute honor and privilege to be part of this Boston Marathon running team and I am looking forward to a long lasting collaboration with the patient community and my running mates.

Rena Baek 
I am a scientist in Genzyme’s Pharmacology Department. I began studying rare diseases in graduate school and have met some incredible patients and families over the years. This is my first year on the Running for Rare Diseases marathon team, and my third marathon overall. I am a history buff and enjoy hiking, watching movies, and traveling. 

Chris Bentis
I live in Newton, Mass. with my wife and three children. I am really excited to run the 2014 Boston Marathon on behalf of the Town of Ashland, and Genzyme to increase awareness of and raise money for The National Organization of Rare Diseases (NORD). This will be my first Boston Marathon. I can’t wait for April 21, 2014!

Trista Blanchard 
I am so excited to run the 2014 Boston Marathon with the Running for Rare Diseases Team! I’ve run 200-mile relays for five years, but this will be my first marathon. Originally from the west, I’ve lived in the Boston area for eight years with my three girls (Brielle and Reese, pictured with me). We love the strong sense of community that is Boston and the surrounding areas, including the town of Ashland. In the 2014 marathon we’ll come together to show our ability and strength to overcome diversity and be BOSTON STRONG. 

Rob Cook
I’ve been working in the Genzyme IT Department for five years. I haven’t been running for very long; in fact I used to make fun of runners (“What are you running from?!!”). Now I’m addicted. My first race was a 5K in October 2012, and my first marathon was this past December. The only other thing I like doing as much as running is playing hockey. I am really excited to be involved with the Running for Rare Disease team, and I can’t wait for April 21.

Kelsey Hoontis
I work in Regulatory Affairs within Genzyme in Allston, Mass. I will be running the 2014 Boston Marathon on behalf of NORD and my patient partner Eli Ramirez. This is my first time running the Boston Marathon and it is an absolute honor to be part of this legendary event and great cause. I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity and will be thinking of these patients on every stride to the finish line!

John Koltvedt
I am District Sales Manager for Sanofi Biosurgery/Genzyme where I am remotely located in Saginaw, Michigan. I also serve as a Battalion Commander in the Michigan Army National Guard. This is my second year running for the Genzyme Rare Disease Marathon Team and my fourth full Marathon overall. In addition to spending time with my family, I enjoy running, playing basketball, hockey, and softball.

Jared Marshall
I grew up in Barrington, R.I., where I spent many summers on the waters of the Narragansett Bay. After attending college studying Biomedical Engineering, I began working at Genzyme in Framingham, MA. Today, I work as a process engineer at Genzyme’s Allston manufacturing plant, and enjoy running, playing ice hockey, skiing and spending time on the Charles River. I am a new member of the Genzyme Running Team this year, and the 2014 Boston Marathon will be my first full marathon. 

Cian O’Brien
I moved to Boston in September 2013 with my wife and 3 kids from Ireland to work with Genzyme. I started running in 2011 and have run a marathon every year since. I was lucky enough to run for Ashland in 2013 and I feel extremely proud to be running in the Boston Marathon 2014 on behalf of the town of Ashland, particularly when I see the benefits the fund raising has for the town.

Pat O’Sullivan
My family and I moved to the U.S. from Ireland last year when I become site head of Genzyme’s Allston Landing Facility. I enjoy following many sports including soccer, rugby, baseball and ice hockey, as well as Irish football and hurling. I ran my first marathon a few years ago, based on a bet with a friend. Since then, I ran a second marathon and am proud to be running my first in Boston this April as a member of Genzyme’s Running for Rare Diseases Team.

Marissa Poole
I am part of the MS Medical Affairs team and have worked for Genzyme for almost 11 years. This will be my first year on the Running for Rare Disease Marathon team, second time running the Boston Marathon and my fifth marathon overall. Originally from Australia, now living in Winchester, Mass., I love to travel, explore new places and run wherever I can. When not running, I am chasing after my three beautiful children who keep me on my toes and forever trying new things. I am excited and honored to run the 2014 Boston Marathon as part of his team in a city that has such a special place in my heart.

Beth Songer
I live in Sterling, Mass., with my husband and two children, Lillian (3) and Owen (1). I ran two half marathons in 2013. This year’s Boston will be my first full marathon. Go big or go home, right? I’m so excited to cross this goal off my bucket list while supporting a great cause. 

Lisa Valaika
A Corporate Account Director, I’ve been with Genzyme for nearly 10 years. I live in Long Beach, CA with my daughter, Isabel (pictured cheering me on at the 2013 Boston Marathon), my husband, Joe, and our pet gold fish, Bubbles, and pet bunny, Marshmallow. 2014 will be my fourth Boston Marathon and my 79th marathon. The Genzyme Team allows me to combine three things that are very important to me: helping others, running and Genzyme.

Daniel Wilkens
I work as a manufacturing engineer at Allston Landing Facility, making sure that all of the equipment used to make Cerezyme works perfectly, and I get involved when it doesn’t. This will mark my second Boston Marathon, with last year as my first. Outside of work and running I am busy as a new father and a recent student in graduate school. Although free time is at a minimum I am using my time pursuing my passions and each day is rewarding as a result.

Shay Zukowski
Growing up in Ashland, Marathon Mondays meant walking to Mile 4 to hand out orange slices and cheer on runners as they passed by. I never imagined I’d have the opportunity or desire to share those goals until I started working at Genzyme as a Communications Specialist. I ran my first 5k during Genzyme’s Rare Disease Day Relay Run in February 2013. This past October, I returned to my hometown to run my first half marathon, and in April I will pass through Ashland once again as I run my first marathon. When I’m not training, I enjoy dancing with OnStage Dance Company, traveling, blogging, yoga and curling up on the couch with my boyfriend and puppy, Oakley.

Ashland's Special Programs & Social Services
(This is where your generous donations help in Ashland's Community!!)

  • Food Pantry – Provides food and personal care products to residents of Ashland who are in need. 
  • Ashland Youth and Family Services – Provides advocacy and social service programs to youth and their families in Ashland. Works closely with the police department supporting a youth court diversion program, and works towards the treatment, prevention and resolution of welfare or social growth problems. 
  • Community Outreach – Supports our many senior citizens, especially those that are shut-in due to loss of transportation.
  • Ashland Emergency Fund – Provides temporary financial support to Ashland families in need of heat, medical, electric, oil/gas, rent or food. This fund has an association of individuals that respond rapidly to emergency situations. It creates a heightened sense of responsibility within our community of our duty to support our neighbors in need. 
  • Fire/Police – Public Safety Departments support events and services such as "Rachel’s Challenge", an anti-bullying program, to the middle and high school students and setup fire-fighting camps for high school girls that may have an interest in becoming fire fighters. They also plan to sponsor the Fire and Emergency Services Exploring Program. ('“Exploring gives high school students, both male and female, aged 14 to 20, the opportunity to gain insight into a fire and emergency services career and develop a road map for their futures Students interact with Firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics in order to gain experience in a work environment. 'Explorer Post Advisors' give students career opportunities, life skills, leadership experience, service learning, and character education.) 
  • Community Enrichment Library Programs  - provide constructive activities for teens, supporting sports programs, sponsoring community concerts and movie nights for Town residents.