Dawn Cobak, 43
Financial Services and founder of For Jake’s Sake, a nonprofit charity funding Autism research
I was given the opportunity to run Boston last year by a friend who works for John Hancock, and because I didn’t finish last year, I was eligible to run again in 2014. I started running in November 2009 when I realized that my youngest and last child was 6 years old and it was finally time to lose my baby weight. I ran my first marathon in October the following year and caught the marathon bug. I ran the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon in 2011, Boston, the Vermont Marathon and the Maine Marathon Marathon — where I ran my 3:55 PR — in 2012, and Boston, Vermont and the Marine Corps Marathon in 2013.
Why are you running the 2014 Boston Marathon?
I’m running Boston for many reasons, mainly because Boston is my home and I love this marathon. I’ve been traveling in to watch it since I was a child. I’m also running for children with autism, who may never be able to run a race on their own. I witnessed the bombings first-hand last year from the middle of Boylston Street, and I am running for the victims and witnesses of last year’s tragedy — and for closure for all of us.
What part of the event/course are you most looking forward to?
The part of the marathon I most look forward to is seeing my family and then seeing all of my friends from the Wicked Running Club at the gel stop at mile 17. I find them to be my savior at that point. I also love the Wellesley and Boston College crowds, as well as the final turn onto Boylston Street. I find those areas are the ones I most look forward to.
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What does “Boston Strong” mean to you?
Boston Strong means a lot to me; I was born and raised here, and I went to undergraduate and graduate school at Northeastern University. This is my city, and I will not let a cowardly terrorist act keep me from fulfilling my dream.
Who is coming out to support you this year?
My husband and my mom will be at their usual spot in Wellesley, where they’ve watched me for the last three years. However, I do not want them at the finish line this year. They were in the bleachers at the finish last year, waiting for me to cross, and I can’t go through that again. They will be far from the finish line, and I will find them after I’m safely across and wearing my tinfoil blanket. My friends from the Wicked Running Club will be manning the gel stop at mile 17 again, and they are always a huge pick-me-up!
What is your race-day goal?
My goal for 2014 is to have fun, take a lot of pictures along the way and to cross that finish line with a smile.