Phil Bauman hadn’t gone for a run in probably five years.
But when his name was pulled in the Manulife lottery for an opportunity to run in the Boston Marathon while raising money for charity, it was time to lace up those sneakers once again.
The Conestogo resident will run the Boston Marathon in April as one of 150 Manulife employees who were randomly chosen to run after entering their names, so long as they raise at least $5,000 for a charitable organization.
Bauman is running for Mennonite Central Committee, to help support the group’s work with Syrian refugees. His goal is to raise $15,000 and so far he’s nearly halfway to that point.
Manulife owns John Hancock, a key sponsor of the marathon in Boston, and one of a few organizations that allow people to enter the marathon without having qualified through a race as part of the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program.
“For me initially it was something that I did on a bit of a whim. Once I received the news that I had won the lottery that’s when I started thinking seriously about if this is what I wanted to do and think about,” Bauman said.
He said it’ll be an important accomplishment for himself, but more importantly it’ll raise funds for a good cause.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me but the charitable aspect of it was an additional motivation for me,” Bauman said.
He ran a half-marathon in October and started training the month before. He runs three to four times a week, plus a longer run on the weekend and hockey once a week.
To fit them all in he does a run every Tuesday during his lunch break and evening runs after the kids are in bed. This Tuesday’s run was no cakewalk, as Waterloo Region was hit with snow and wind most of the day.
“I was doing pretty well in December in sticking to that routine. It’s been tough the last week, especially today,” he said on Tuesday. “I ran over my lunch hour and it was tough. I was sliding all over the place. It was cold and windy. The next few months are going to be pretty tough because I need to ramp up my training and then make sure I’m going along the distances.”
The longest run he’s done so far is 25 kilometres, just over half of what he’ll have to run for the 42-kilometre marathon.
“I really have no background in running. It’s totally intimidating,” Bauman said.
His first run back in September was seven or eight kilometres he estimates and it was a tough go. Every run now is about pushing himself a little bit further.
“I’m getting better but I think one of the biggest challenges is not only the idea of the race, the 42K, but finding the time to make sure that I’m sticking to a training schedule where I am running multiple times a week and a long run on the weekend to help prepare myself,” Bauman said.
Beside work, he’s a volunteer firefighter at the Woolwich Fire Department’s Conestogo station. As well, he has three children ages 1, 3, and 4 that keep him occupied.
He says the firefighting and training for the marathon mean he has two good reasons to stay in shape. And his fellow firefighters have been supportive, making donations to MCC on his behalf.
Social media has played a significant role in his donations. He says friends and family have shared the fundraising page and he notices more donations coming in just about every day.
“I’m ecstatic that I’m already halfway there. I’m hoping to get a big push over the next few months to hopefully hit my goal,” Bauman said.
But he credits his wife the most for encouraging him to pursue this goal.
“The biggest supporter is my wife. I spent quite a bit of time talking with her. We have three young boys, a busy family life. The biggest discussion was determining how can we fit this in to our busy life already. She was very supportive I should do this,” Bauman said.
To contribute to Bauman’s fundraising effort, visit https://donate.mcccanada.ca/registry/phils-running-boston-refugee-crisis.