HFCU board member Ray Phillips runs multiple marathons each year. His circuit includes Miami, Las Vegas, Vermont and Boston. The last one is special — not because it’s local but for the reason behind his run.
“I’d been running marathons for a couple of years, and I’d always wanted to run Boston,” Ray explained. “One day, David [Sprague, Hanscom FCU’s President/CEO] called and said he had a number available.”
It was a charity number, and Ray found himself involved in fundraising for Children’s Hospital Boston through the credit union. He was part of the Credit Unions for Kids team. As part of his run, Ray was partnered with a Children’s Hospital patient, a young New Hampshire boy named Andy.
Ray smiled as he recalled meeting Andy. “He looked at me and said, ‘Ray, are you running for me?’ I melted, and I realized this wasn’t just about me. It was about Andy and every child that was sick or needed hospital care,” he said.
That was sixteen years ago. This year, Ray Phillips will run his 16th Boston Marathon. Andy, now 19 years old, will also be competing. He will be on the course as a wheelchair racer, inspired by so many race days waiting for Ray to carry him over the finish line.
Two-year-old Alice is Ray’s new patient partner. A sweet, bright-eyed toddler, Alice laughs easily as only a toddler can.
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Does it get easier to run marathons as you get older? “No,” the 67-year-old Ray said decidedly. “I’m getting slower. But mentally I’ve learned to get through it.”
And training, especially during this record-breaking winter? “I never train as hard as I should. At Boston, I don’t worry about how fast I go. I have fun and interact with the crowd. In the past, I knew Andy would be waiting for me at the end. Now Alice will be waiting. That will keep me pushing on.”