While studying at Boston University, Kate Stanton always spent marathon day with friends in Boston's Audubon Circle, cheering on the runners as they passed through the final mile of the route.
Now, Stanton is ready to see the Boston Marathon from a new perspective.
"I saw the marathon every year and I was always on the sidelines. I always wanted to do it but I never had the time," says Stanton, a Newton Upper Falls resident. "Then, when I was out of school, I said to myself, 'why am I not doing this?'"
With the motivation to raise money for Alzheimer's research, and the mentoring from her boss at , Stanton applied for one of 10 spots on the Alzheimer's Association Boston Marathon Team.
At just 23-years old, Stanton says she is the youngest person on her team. Her age, though, doesn't make much difference on a team that she says "is like family."
"Every single person has a family member who has been affected or is currently affected by Alzheimer's," Stanton says. "It really means something to everyone."
For Stanton, running the marathon for the Alzheimer's Association is all about her grandfather, Thomas Curnin, who passed away from the disease in 2010.
Her grandfather's disease hit home with Stanton one day at a memorial Mass for her grandmother, about a year before her grandfather passed away. Although she had been his only granddaughter for most of her life, Stanton recalls her grandfather looking at her during the Mass and having no idea who she was.
"That was the turning point for when it felt real," Stanton says. "It was pretty devastating."
Always interested in fundraising, but never having the time in high school or college, Stanton started volunteering as soon as she finished school. She's helped out the Alzheimer's Association, Dana Farber, The Wounded Warriors Project, ALS TDI, and the American Heart Association.
But when Stanton decided to run the Boston Marathon, she knew exactly what charity to go to.
"The Alzheimer's Association is a perfect fit for me," she says. "If I wanted to do [the Boston Marathon], I wanted to do it for them."
Even after the marathon is over, Stanton says she's going to remain involved with the Alzheimer's Association as a fundraiser, a volunteer and a member of their Reach the Beach race team.
Since she got the call to join the Alzheimer's Association Boston Marathon team in November 2011, Stanton has been training with her fellow teammates and her mentor, Seana Gaherin. Gaherin, who owns Dunn Gaherin's in Upper Falls, has run the marathon several times (including this year) for .
Stanton, a former dancer, has balanced 5 days of training per week with her two jobs, one as a bartender at Dunn Gaherin's and another as a marketing and finance employee with Corindus Vascular Robotics in Natick.
As part of her training, Stanton incorporates cross-training, bike work and "a whole ton of physical therapy." She also goes on Saturday "long runs" on the marathon route with her team.
"The training the fundraising it’ll all be worth it once I cross the finish line," Stanton says.
Although this may be her first Boston Marathon, this is certainly not Stanton's first race. She ran some track in high school and has participated in numerous triathlons and half-marathons including the 2011 Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon and, more recently, the New Bedford Half Marathon.
During the New Bedford race, which she ran just a couple of weeks ago, Stanton said she had a personal best by nine minutes. The long runs with her team, she added, have also been going well.
As for the Boston Marathon, Stanton is aiming to not only finish, but also mark a time between 4 hours 20 minutes and 4 hours 30 minutes.
Although her exterior seems calm and confident, Stanton admits she has "lots of butterflies" for the big event. In less than three weeks, she'll finally find herself on the other side of the marathon crowds -- and she's looking forward to hitting Audubon Circle.
"I'm really excited," she says. "I've always wanted to do it -- since I saw the marathon for the first time."
You can keep track of Stanton's run by singing up for alerts on the Boston Athletic Association website (her bib # is 21723), or by staying tuned to Newton Patch on marathon day. For more information on Stanton and her run, check out her Alzheimer's Association Personal Page.