History teacher, Jennifer Rowley, has participated in several road races since she started running long-distance, but this year her reason for running the Boston Marathon is fueled by the love of her nephew William, who is battling cancer for a second time.
In 2018, when William was only 10 months old, he was diagnosed with metastatic hepatoblastoma, a rare cancer that originates in the liver. Since his initial diagnosis, he has undergone surgery to remove the tumor on his liver and has received multiple cycles of chemotherapy. By August 2018, he was in remission. About five months ago, however; during one of William’s monthly blood work checks, doctors discovered that the cancer had returned.
“Throughout this journey, my sister, Steph and brother-in-law, Jake have been steadfast and positive,” said Rowley, who will be wearing a bib representing Dana Farber, in honor of her nephew. “I am amazed by their resiliency and strength.”
On Monday, April 20, Rowley will use her strength and endurance as she approaches the finish line for her second Boston Marathon. She last ran Boston in 2016 and that same year she ran the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, D.C.
“I was an athlete growing up and found that running fueled my competitive nature,” said Rowley, who didn’t start running until 2014. “My sister convinced me to run my first half marathon and I’ve been hooked on running long distance races ever since.”
This time around, Rowley’s training is particularly challenging, thanks to her colleague’s intense training programs and the fact that she has a 16-month old daughter.
“This might seem strange but I love the training. My co-worker, DJ Racette, has written my training programs since the Marine Corp Marathon. His programs are quite challenging and I love pushing myself to get better. There is no better feeling than finishing a race after months of hard work. I’m lucky to have the support of my husband, Andrew, who cares for my daughter during my long weekend runs.”
Rowley’s training schedule is bookmarked by her days in the classroom, where she has been teaching since 2005.
“The students at Winthrop are kind, personable, and passionate. In addition, the staff at Winthrop High School is outstanding and dedicated. I honestly love going to work every day.”