HUDSON — Local mom Genevieve Seton-Harris never considered herself a marathon runner, but by watching her two teenagers fully engaged in Alvirne High School’s music program, she’s learned a thing or two about going the distance.
Next month, Seton-Harris will sprint toward a goal over a year in the making: crossing the finish line in the 118th Boston Marathon.
During her maiden marathon run last spring, Seton-Harris said her expectations were low.
A close friend, fellow Hudson resident Amy Sousa, was running the race to raise funds for Wediko Children’s Services, an organization for at-risk children in the Boston and New York metro areas.
To show support, Seton-Harris started training with Sousa to keep her friend company, though she never imagined she’d take on Heartbreak Hill herself.
“I’d always thought the whole idea of running a marathon was ludicrous,” she said. “But about two weeks before last year’s marathon, Amy called and told me she had an extra bib and needed some help raising funds.”
Seton-Harris reluctantly agreed and promptly raised $5,000 to assist the charity.
During last year’s Boston Marathon, she had just crossed the 21-mile marker when the bombs went off at the finish line.
“That’s when the Boston Police came through on motorcycles and the race was suddenly over,” she said. “It was organized chaos.”
Seton-Harris and other marathon runners were quickly directed to a nearby chapel on the Boston College campus where she and her running companions reached for their cell phones and began to piece together what happened.
This year, the Boston Athletic Association invited back all of last year’s runners who were unable to complete the course, giving Seton-Harris the chance to ponder the fundraising possibilities. She didn’t have to look far.
With her son, Jake Arnold, a senior, and daughter, Sarah Arnold, a freshman, involved in the Alvirne High School marching band, Seton-Harris realized the importance of supporting children in her hometown.
After gaining the support of Hudson Friends of Music President Chris McNally and Alvirne Music Director Gerry Bastian, Seton-Harris dedicated this year’s run to the district’s marching band, which will perform at Walt Disney World later this spring.
McNally said the $3,000 Seton-Harris is hoping to raise would be used toward the Friends of Music Scholarship Program.
“The students in the marching band know that excellence takes time and practice,” McNally said. “There are many miles to log to get to finish.”
Though Seton-Harris never considered herself particularly athletic, she said it’s important to teach her children about finishing what they’ve started, regardless of the obstacles they encounter.
Both her children plan on waiting for her near the end of the course, with Jake playing his trumpet and Sarah playing her baritone saxophone.
Seton-Harris said she’s not scared to return to the Boston Marathon this year, noting the high level of security anticipated at the event.
“When I first started running, a mile was a long run,” she said. “And that’s exactly what our kids are going through in the marching band. They’re out there in all kinds of weather working towards a goal. And it’s totally worth it in the end.”
For more information or to sponsor Seton-Harris on her run, visit the AHS Marching Band Marathon page at www.crowdrise.com.