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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > the katie lynch heartbreak hill half-marathon and purple shoes challenge – this race is all heart

The Katie Lynch Heartbreak Hill Half-Marathon and Purple Shoes Challenge – This Race is all Heart
You won’t want to miss this opportunity to step up to a terrific half- marathon challenge that only the legendary Heartbreak Hill and a wonderful cause can deliver.

The Katie Lynch Heartbreak Hill Half-Marathon and Purple Shoes Challenge – This Race is all Heart

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Active Running

By Noreen Cohen
Posted Friday, 27 February, 2009

This one-of-a-kind event will take place on Sunday, May 31, 2009 in Newton, Massachusetts. What a great way to combine your personal fitness goals while running to benefit The Katie Lynch Foundation. What a terrifically interesting parallel—the connection between the challenge of this half marathon course including Heartbreak Hill with the challenges faced every day by children and adults with disabilities.

Join the excitement of this special inaugural half- marathon. The USATF-certified course is moderately hilly and challenging. Starting at Newton South High School, the race travels through scenic neighborhoods as runners make their way to and over Newton’s famed Heartbreak Hill. You don’t have to run the Boston Marathon to experience this famed hill! Heartbreak Hill is an ascent over 0.4 mile and about 400 feet of the Boston Marathon course, between the 19 and 21 mile marks just west of Boston College. It is the last of four of the Newton Hills along the Boston Marathon course. If you are looking for an amazing running challenge, one that will define your personal best--along with the chance to make the world a better place--The Katie Lynch Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon is one race not to be missed.

About Katie Lynch
Katie Lynch knew first hand about challenges and the rewards of crossing the finish line. For Katie, it was all about testing her limits despite the many physical challenges she faced. Born with a rare form of dwarfism and a tissue disorder that required her to undergo many surgeries over the course of her life, she was known to face challenges head on with plenty of humor, courage and spirit. On April 16, 2001, she jubilantly crossed her own modified Boston Marathon finish line. She stood just 28 inches and had walked 26.2 feet. Her inspiring message that “every human being is worth it” is the core of her legacy. It is fitting that her personal mantra was “Parva Sed Potens,” Latin for small but powerful; Katie embodied a can do attitude. She passed away on October 24, 2002, but the work that she began as a tireless advocate for patients, families and the disabled lives on in the hearts of many.

The Katie Lynch Foundation
The Foundation was established to honor and perpetuate Katie Lynch’s commitment to the well-being of those with special needs. You can share Katie’s dream of a world where every individual is valued. The Foundation seeks to fund programs which create opportunities and foster respect for individuals with disabilities and those who assist them. The goal is to enable and assist members of the disabled community to live active and fulfilling lives. One hundred percent of the race registration fees will go to the Foundation. Your participation can help make this important fundraising event a success.
The Katie Lynch Foundation benefits the following programs:

Children’s Hospital Boston’s Opening Doors for Youth, a program offering youths with disabilities and special healthcare needs a bright future.

Understanding Our Differences, a unique and innovative curriculum, combines learning about disabilities with an emphasis on understanding and respect. See to check it out.

The Purple Shoes Challenge
At the 2001 Boston Marathon Katie Lynch laced up her custom purple shoes and completed her personal marathon challenge. Her courage and determination enabled her to successfully train for many months and to overcome several injuries. Not only was it a personal triumph for her but also it was a challenge to other athletes of different abilities to think like and feel like a champion. This challenge called on all to give their best on any given day, racing or otherwise. It is in this spirit, that the Purple Shoes Challenge welcomes young people with physical disabilities, ages 12-22 to set personal performance goals, train vigorously and run or walk their personal best “half marathon” on May 31st.

Purple Shoes Challenge Distances:

13.1 feet
13.1 Meters (43 feet)
.131 Miles (691.68 feet)
1.31 miles (6961 feet)
The Sixty Minute Ultra Challenge

For more details, email

Charity Runner Benefits
Looking for extra motivation as you train? Get involved with a great cause while keeping up your motivation and energy by becoming a Charity Runner. Take on the additional challenge of raising money for The Katie Lynch Foundation and reap the rewards of making a lasting difference in the lives of disabled individuals. Your race can mean so much more! Your efforts will have the powerful impact of raising awareness and living life in accordance with Katie’s belief, again, “that every human being is worth it”.

As a Charity Runner you will receive weekly on-line training and fundraising tips from a Boston Marathon alum and certified personal trainer. You will also be invited to join an on-line group exclusive to the Heartbreak Hill Charity Runners (on where you can post accomplishments, share fundraising goals, and ask questions of your fellow Charity Runners. Add something extra, something unique to your half marathon experience and keep going when the training gets tough. With support like this, you are sure to have a successful race.

And if that wasn’t enough, Charity Runners also have the chance to win prizes! Runners will receive one raffle ticket for every $25.00 they raise for the Katie Lynch Foundation. There will be several great prizes given away in this special raffle after the regular race awards, including a $1,000 bike from BWM, Red Sox tickets and more.

There will also be awards for the top three finishers as well as the top three Age Group winners. There will, of course, be a variety of post race refreshments, food and (non-alcoholic) beverages.

Register Now
Katie Lynch’s story and her remarkable accomplishments can be your inspiration to meet your half marathon goals. Even if you have never run a half marathon, this is the perfect time to try—to take your challenge. So whether you are just trying to stay in great running shape, discover your personal best, or attempt a distance that you didn’t think possible, running to help others adds something extra to the experience and will keep you enthusiastic throughout your training. Running is, after all, relatively easy for you; think of the challenges those with disabilities face each day.

The first 750 to register will also get a great T-shirt so act now. Please visit the race website to register on line and for more race details at and enjoy preparing for this unique event.



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