Running has always been a part of Will Cannell and Kathy Walsh’s relationship. From their dating years to today, the pair has used running to connect, challenge one another and support charities across the United States.
Kathy alone has run 14 marathons. She confesses that her body can’t handle the mileage like it used to, so last year, she decided that she would run one more. Having run Boston before, with its incomparable atmosphere, she knew that conquering it one more time would be the ultimate close to her running career, and that crossing the finish line with Will would make it all the more special.
“There is something about the crowd, the support from beginning to end… it feels so alive,” says Kathy. “It is an experience that is very hard to articulate, but there are so many special things about this marathon.”
In 2016, Kathy ran her first Boston Marathon for Wediko Children’s Services, an organization that merged with The Home for Little Wanderers a few years later in 2020. Then and now, her marathon partnerships align with her personal mission to support children in at-risk circumstances, especially those growing up in the foster care system.
Kathy is a court-appointed special advocate in San Francisco, a role in which she represents the best interests of a child in court and works to ensure their needs are met during their time in foster care. She also works for a thrift shop that donates proceeds to foster care and youth homes. Kathy’s work with local youth offers her the opportunity to provide trusted guidance in challenging times, something she believes every child deserves.
“They need somebody to believe in them, to advocate for them, to listen and to consistently show up,” says Kathy. “Because by the time these kids get to us, they’ve been so traumatized at a young age, and it is really important that they have a safe adult in their life.”
For Will, running Boston fulfills a longtime goal of adding one of the most prestigious races in the world to his list. Most recently, he ran the New York Marathon for Autism Speaks and the Chicago Marathon for Chicago Parks Foundation, and he has now set his sights on Boston to help create better, brighter futures for kids with The Home. While Will has lived in San Francisco since college, his family ties to New England and frequent trips to visit them in Mattapoisett bring him to the East Coast most summers and holidays, so the region holds a special place in his heart.
“Living in San Francisco, you’re used to hills, but I recently asked Kathy about the hills on the Boston route,” says Will. “She told me about Heartbreak Hill and says it isn’t much compared to what we have here, so I think we’ll do alright!”
When they aren’t out running together, Kathy and Will enjoy cooking and traveling to experience new places and cuisines. Between them, they have five sons.
Help Kathy and Will make this a marathon experience to remember by supporting their joint fundraiser for The Home.