Marathon Monday is one of my favorite days of the year. A day when people line the streets from Hopkinton to Boston, ringing cowbells, handing out orange slices (or Jell-O shots if you’re around the college campuses), holding up signs for their marathoning friend, sister, teacher, or coworker. And the runners! They’re people of all ages, from around the world, some who have run 30 marathons and others who are first-timers. Elite runners who qualified for the race and many more who gained official entry by fundraising for charities. These six local women will be among the thousands of Boston Marathon runners this April. Get your cowbells ready, and look for them on Marathon Monday!

Lauren Alverson :: Wellesley

Who she is: Mom to two kids, ages 3 and 5

Charity: Brookline Center for Community Mental Health

Hobbies: Writing children’s stories, cooking, spending time on the Cape

Why Lauren runs Boston: “As time consuming and exhausting as it is to train for a marathon, fundraise a large amount of money, work a full-time job, and take care of my family — all at the same time — there is truly no comparable feeling to running the Boston Marathon course on Patriot’s Day. Not just the finish stretch on Boylston, either. Every section is incredible. The cheering and crowds are like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”

Lika Targan :: Brookline

Who she is: Mom to one child, age 7

Charity: Brookline Public Libraries

Hobbies: Running, biking, searching for her next favorite pastry at local bakeries

Why Lika runs Boston: “I’ve wanted to run Boston since moving here in 2013. I’ve watched the marathon every year, and I cry as the runners run by. I’m so impressed by this superhuman feat. Running has been an escape for several years; I started running during the pandemic as a relief from the stresses of working in a hospital, as well as going through a divorce that year. I ran my first marathon last year and decided Boston could be a reality and not just a far-off dream.”

Jen Kanyugi :: Braintree

Who she is: Mom to three children, ages 4, 10, and 13

Charity: Camp Shriver

Hobbies: Volunteering, traveling, exploring museums and libraries with her kids

Why Jen runs Boston: “Running Boston as a charity runner allows me to pay it forward in a meaningful way. I love showing my kids what’s possible. This is my 20th Boston Marathon, and I feel lucky and privileged to do this.”

Mollie Roque :: Plainville

Who she is: Mom to two kids, ages 7 and 9, and hosting a 16-year-old Ukrainian refugee exchange student

Charity: Brookline Symphony Orchestra

Hobbies: Reading, going to punk-pop concerts, watching professional soccer

Why Mollie runs Boston: “Running started as a way to get back in shape after having kids, and it became a beloved activity — and a huge stress relief. However, I ran a marathon a few years ago and hated every moment of it. I started training with a new coach and slowly got back into the marathon mindset. After falling in love with the distance at a marathon in 2022, I started trying to complete the World Majors. [There are six World Marathon Majors: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York.] Boston will be my fourth star, and after living here for 13 years I’m so excited to finally be a part of this iconic race.”

Adrienne Koufos :: Weymouth

Who she is: Mom to two children, ages 7 and 15

Hobbies: Hiking, camping, going to concerts (when she can get a night away!)

Charity: Boys and Girls Club of Newton

Why Adrienne runs Boston: I’m running Boston — and fundraising for the Boys and Girls Club — to make an impact in children’s lives, and also show my own kids you can do hard things and succeed. I love that I get to challenge myself and help others at the same time.

Jessie Keppeler :: Brookline (Me!)

Who she is: Mom to three kids, ages 8, 11, and 14

Hobbies: Ski (and apres ski), basketball (coaching and playing), travel

Charity: Brookline Public Libraries

Why Jessie runs Boston: I ran Boston 20 years ago, and I’ve always wanted to do it again — with a team, and for charity. Cheering from the sidelines in recent years, I became more and more inspired to jump in and run. So this year I decided to go for it. As with most things, there’s no time like right now.

I’ve loved being part of a team, but I’m still struck by how personal marathon training is. I’m the only one who can make myself get out there in the cold — with my dog on shorter runs and a good Taylor Swift playlist for more mileage. I’m the only one who can make sure I’m rested and hydrated for long runs on Saturday mornings. (I’ll get home to find my daughters still in pajamas, eating pancakes in the kitchen, and they’ll raise their eyebrows: “You ran 18 miles this morning?” Yes. Yes, I did.)

And on April 15, I’ll run 26.2 from Hopkinton, through Ashland and Framingham, through the Natick Town Common, past Wellesley College, past the Newton Fire Station with its huge “Boston Strong” banner, up Heartbreak Hill, along Comm Ave. past Boston College, down Beacon St., through Kenmore Square, and across the Boylston St. finish line.

We all will. 

Jessie Keppeler
A Maine native, Jessie migrated down the coast to Boston after college, and it’s been home ever since. She has lived in various corners of the city — from Allston and Brighton to Newbury Street and then Jamaica Plain — before settling in Brookline with her husband and three daughters. As much as she loves home now, she also likes to leave occasionally: recent family travels include Italy, Belize, and Washington D.C. Jessie writes with a cat curled up nearby and a dog at her feet. And a cup of coffee. Always.


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