August 2, 2021
We’re so excited to introduce everyone to Danielle and Sidney, the two amazing women who will be running the 2021 Boston Marathon® for 826 Boston through the John Hancock Marathon Non-Profit Program.
Danielle Oaks is a freelance health writer and editor. She is a proud foster parent, world traveler, insatiable trail runner, and a complete language nerd. She’ll be running the Boston Marathon for the first time.
Sidney works at Moderna and is a regular 826 Boston tutor (she particularly loves encouraging students’ interest in STEM). This is her very first marathon, and she can’t wait to feel that sense of accomplishment when she crosses the finish line.
Read more about both of our runners below, and don’t forget to donate to their runs! All proceeds support 826 Boston’s free writing programs. (Danielle’s fundraising page is here and Sidney’s fundraising page is here).
What are you most looking forward to regarding running the marathon?
Danielle: I’ve been living in Boston for 13 years and Marathon Monday is by far my favorite day—the fanfare, the positivity, the way everyone is just cheering for everyone! I’ve never run Boston before and I can’t wait to finally make the journey from Hopkinton to Copley Square. I’m most excited about the beautiful intersection of all these things I cherish in my life: running, my city, writing, and supporting the opportunities for youth that 826 Boston creates.
Sidney: Since this is my first marathon, I am looking forward to the feeling of accomplishment I will feel when crossing the finish line. It’s both an honor and a physical challenge to participate and it’s a type of challenge that I have never been confronted with before. In our daily lives, we accomplish tasks that take days or weeks of preparation, but it is uncommon that we face situations that take months of preparation. I am eager to complete something that takes such dedication and mental toughness with the hopes of inspiring other people to set long-term goals.
Tell us about your favorite book or poem or writer and your connection to it/them:
Danielle: My favorite book is a collection of short stories called How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers. I read a little about Dave after reading and loving several of his books and that’s how I learned about his work starting 826 National and 826 Boston. Ironically, I feel stuck crafting words for why I love those short stories so much. The book was given to me by a friend in 2008 and I’d never read anything quite like it. The writing was heavy and playful and expansive at the same time—and it was pure joy to let it wash over me. I’ve also become a huge later in life Stephen King fan; Bag of Bones is my current King favorite.
Sidney: My favorite book is called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This book is a great read for teens that are evolving and learning what kind of life they want to lead. With modern-day examples, the author is very good at connecting to the audience and relating both dreams and expectations with reality. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “when you surrender to what is and so become fully present, the past ceases to have any power” (Tolle 144). When I got the opportunity through 826 Boston to run the Boston Marathon, there were no hesitations because I knew that my growth over the last few years has allowed me to be present and focused on any goal I seek to accomplish. I believe that anyone can carry out whatever they set their minds to if they are both present and aware. I hope that all the youth and adults at 826 Boston can read this book and take steps to set new goals and achieve them!
Tell us about your training. What are you enjoying and where do you need our community to cheer you on in the next few months?
Danielle: I’m right on track in training! I’ve done a few marathons before but I’ve been spending the last few years running more in the woods than on the roads, so I’ll be focusing on my muscles making the switch. I’m so excited to be a part of the 826 Boston team and to get to know the community more. Please please reach out and say hello!
Sidney: My training so far is going well! I have an application called Run With Hal that tells me how many miles I need to be running each day, as well as what pace. On my off days, I cross-train where I go to CorePower Yoga in Ink Block, SLT Pilates in Back Bay, and BSPOKE Spin Studio in South Boston. My training is very weather-dependent since we have had so many heat waves and thunderstorms this year. If the forecast is expected to be over 90 degrees or rain after 4 pm, I run in the morning at 5 am before heading to work! Running in the mornings is my preferred time to train because I usually get to see the sunrise over the water at Castle Island! As it gets closer, I feel like I need support and reminders to stick with it, it’s getting close, and just to keep pushing!
Anything else about yourself that you would like to share:
Danielle: I have four tattoos, two of which are inspired by the same Dave Eggers short story, “After I Was Thrown in the River” and “Before I Drowned.” My most recent one is a depiction of the zestful “fast, fast dog” dog who narrates the story—how Dave describes that dog is exactly how I feel when I run. The other is a quote across my back from the last lines of the story: “Of course God is the sun.” Now you have to go read the whole story for the context!