She couldn't get this sign out of her head: "Someday, you will not be able to do this. Today is not that day."
It was a sign posted at the start of the Chicago Marathon, which Meredith Kent has run for the past two years.
Even though the sign's saying was burnt into her brain, originally she didn't intend to run another marathon. The training, which requires a lot of time and commitment, was pushing Kent to the "retired runner" mode, at least to marathon extent.
But Kent, who moved to Northborough in 2007, was further inspired by the organization Cradles to Crayons, which she volunteers for with her seven-year-old daughter.
"They had some charity numbers available, and I really felt like I couldn't pass up the opportunity," said Kent.
Cradles to Crayons is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that provides essential items such as clothing, school supplies, baby gear and toys to children in need throughout the state.
"My husband and I are fortunate that we are able to provide the necessities to thrive to our own children (who are 2 and 7)," said Kent, whose fundraising site is here, "so doing the marathon to benefit C2C and volunteering there are ways that I can give back, and also show my daughters how important that is."
Kent has not always been a runner. In high school, she ran track for a total of two days, and decided, "it wasn't for me, and became the team manager so I didn't have to run."
She did other activities to stay fit, but her physician friend encouraged her to run a relay called the Mass Dash, which benefits the Jimmy Fund, years ago, and she's been running ever since.
"While it's a great way to stay in shape," she said, "it's also brought me closer to some really important people in my life, all of whom I run with, such as my sister, husband, sister-in-law and friends."
Training with fellow Marathon runner and Northborough friend Heather Capes, as well as family members and other friends, she tries to run at least three to four times a week, with long runs on the weekend and cross-training in between. Battling a nasty case of shin splints, her running has been limited as of late.
Kent's goal is to finish the Boston Marathon with a smile on her face, no matter how long it takes her.
"I know I can finish it," she said. "I just want to be happy when I'm done."