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By Molly Ford
BU News Service
For the 14th consecutive year, the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club has assembled a team that will take on the grueling 26.2-mile Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18.
The 2011 team consists of 16 volunteers, from Boston, Florida, and some who live as far away as San Francisco. The group includes club alumni, staff, and other benefactors.
Derek Gallagher, athletic director of the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club, is participating in his 15th Boston Marathon this year. Over the years, he has raised $35,000 for the non-profit organization. He also tries to foster unity on the team. This year he designed distinctive t-shirts and jackets featuring the Boys and Girls Club logos for the team to wear on race day.
Each team member is required to raise a specific amount of money before race day. Greg Jackson, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club, anticipates that the team will raise close to $40,000. Jackson handles fundraising for the marathon team and tracks each runner’s donation total.
Because the team includes people from all over the country, each individual is responsible for their own training leading up to the marathon. Some have been dedicated to intense workout routines for several months, while other team members seem to be fairly confident in their natural running abilities, Jackson said.
Fundraising events such as the marathon run support the club, which provides a facility for children to socialize and allows working parents to leave their children in a safe environment during the work day. Other major events that support Boston area clubs include annual golf tournament and the Battle of Bunker Hill Road Race.
Some of the money that is raised will be used for summer programming, including sports clinics, arts and crafts camps, dance lessons, and other activities for teenagers. In 2010, the summer program at the Boys & Girls Club served almost 4,000 youth and provided employment for hundreds of teens, who worked as counselors-in-training and interns.
Out of the 10 Boys and Girls Club locations in the Boston area, the Charlestown and South Boston clubs are the only ones that have marathon teams this year.