My name is Aleksei Shabalin. My family and I have been living in Ashland for the past 5 years. I live with my wife Elena and our 2 sons, Ivan and Stepan.
We liked the town as soon as we moved here from Kentucky at the end of 2016. So, when we decided that we wanted to settle in Massachusetts we had no doubts that the home should be in Ashland.
For the last 20 years I've been doing different kinds of sport. I tried powerlifting, paintball, indoor rowing, hiking, etc. But for some reason I never tried running until the summer of 2020. For some reason I thought running is not for me. It seemed boring, exhausting, bad for my back, knees and joints. But when in 2020 the quarantine started I added fast walking to my activity list. And at some point in the summer of 2020 I realized that I’m actually almost running. I decided to give it a try, and… I still cannot stop! I fell in love with running! I’ve read a lot of books and articles on the Internet about running, I watched a lot of videos about running, I found how to make it safe.
Running is more than just a hobby. It is a way to meet new people and a way to be alone when I need it. Running is a good time to think about some task at work and it is also a very good time to think of nothing at all. It is a way to relax and a way to challenge myself.
For the first year of running, I did not think about any competitions, running was fun by itself. Up until the end of last summer when the company I work for organized an event. It was a virtual marathon. The goal was to collect about 4200 miles (the distance between the main offices of the company) in less than 30 days. Every mile any employee walked, ran, or biked was added to the common score. And at the same time each employee could track how many miles he contributed to the final score. It was at that moment that I realized that the competition motivates me to run more. BTW, we achieved the goal in 27 days. :)
But the most exciting thing that happened was when I visited the last Boston Marathon on 12th October, 2021. I was struck with awe at the energy that came from it. That day I had a dream - I will run the Boston Marathon.
Fortunately, an acquaintance of mine, Olga Maturana, had already run the Boston Marathon. She suggested that I could contact the Ashland Town Hall about it. Fingers crossed, I applied for the running slot. It's rather hard to express just how happy I was when I got an email saying that I was selected to run the Boston Marathon for Ashland. I thought that dreams can come true if you believe hard enough in them, but I did not expect that it could happen so fast :)
I'm really happy that I am not only fulfilling my dream but I will be able to help my home town with fundraising money for various important goals of the community. My goal is to raise over $3000, and I would really appreciate each and every dollar donated.
I am getting more excited as April 18 of 2022 draws closer, the day when I will run through my hometown with fellow Marathon participants and hear the cheers and the encouraging voices from my community.