Meet Xtra Mile Boston Marathon Runner Liz Downs!
Liz Downs is just one of the runners on our 26 member Boston Marathon team who’s not only making a difference in the lives of our athletes in 2018, but will have a lasting impact on Special Olympics Massachusetts that will help our movement and organization continue to support the athletes of today and tomorrow as we look forward towards the next 50 years of sports opportunities and inclusion!
Read on to learn more about Liz!
Where did you grow up? “I grew up in Hanover, Mass.”
What do you do for work? How does this influence your experience with Special Olympics? “I have been an elementary teacher at Cedar Elementary in Hanover for 12 years. I have spent a majority of my time as a third grade teacher in an inclusion classroom.”
What does Special Olympics mean to you? “Special Olympics means Acceptance. It is a program that provides opportunities for everyone to be inclusive. Whether you are an athlete or a volunteer, you are guaranteed to take something valuable away from the experience.”
How did you get involved with Special Olympics? “I got involved with Special Olympics when my cousin, Andrew Lawson began competing on their teams. Andrew started with swimming, and then moved on to compete in skiing, sailing, tennis, and softball. Watching him, and other athletes compete was always an incredible sight. Most recently I ran with the XtraMile Team for the Falmouth Road Race. I was so grateful to be given the opportunity to help raise money for such an important cause.”
Have you ran a marathon before? “This will be my first marathon.”
What made you decide to run the Boston Marathon? “The inspiration for running Boston comes from my cousin, Andrew Lawson. When the email to apply for the Special Olympics Marathon team came across my email, I had this feeling that if I was ever going to run a marathon, that this was the time to do it, and this was the program to do it for. Andrew passed away February 8th, 2018 after a two year battle of cancer. His fight and determination has been and will continue to be my motivation through this entire process. He was the strongest, bravest young man. He is an inspiration to so many, without even knowing it. I want to run for Andrew, in his memory. Raising money for Special Olympics allows me the opportunity to give back to a program that provided Andrew with so many wonderful experiences and memories. It is also a way for me to thank Andrew for his impact in my life. I will forever be grateful to him.”
How long have you been running? “I started running after I had my son Ryan, who is now 6. Being a parent (to two children now), and working full time I needed to get the most out of my workouts, and running was my best option. Running is not only great for me physically, but mentally too. I really enjoy the alone time it allows me.”
What motivates you to go running when you really don’t feel like it? “First and foremost, Andrew is my motivation. Knowing that I am doing this to honor his memory is enough to get me up and moving. Also, knowing how I always feel at the end of a run is my motivation to get out and run when I don’t feel like it. It just puts me in a better place, which is better for anyone who has to be around me haha!”
What’s the craziest thing on your bucket list? What on your bucket list that you’ve done that you are most proud of? “Running a marathon is definitely the craziest thing on my bucket list, and when I cross the finish line on April 16th it will be the biggest accomplishment of my life.”
Do you have a motto? “When it comes to running, the motto I have adopted is “She believed she could, so she did.”
When it comes to life in general my motto is “Do what makes you happy, be with those who make you smile, and laugh as much as you breathe.””
Want to run, bike, or compete in a triathlon to support Special Olympics Massachusetts? Join the Xtra Mile Today!