Former Red Sox pitcher Mike Myers thought he knew what he was in for as he prepared to run the 2018 Boston Marathon, but nothing could prepare him or the rest of the nearly 30,000 entrants for what they were about to face Monday.
“Somebody told me the wind was going to be behind us, and it was behind us for a total of about 5 yards,” said Myers with a laugh. “Just the amount of rain that came down, I wasn’t even concentrating on the wind, although there was one point between miles 18 and 22 where the wind was coming in pretty fierce. It felt better than I thought it would though.”
Myers was happy to finish the race, and not just so he could check off another item on his bucket list. The former relief pitcher who was a member of the 2004 Red Sox team that ended the 86-year World Series drought, was running for the Angel Fund, which raises money for research of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
“They’re making strides in trying to find a cure, but until it’s completely done, and seeing how it affects people, it means a lot,” said Myers. “When I think of ALS, I think of the Boston area. Everything that goes on around the Angel Fund, and the Ice Bucket Challenge. I think it’s pretty cool how everybody’s embraced trying to help out and find a cure and bring awareness to the situation.”
Myers became aware of the program during his time with the Red Sox. Teammate Mike Timlin’s mother had died of the disease shortly before Timlin joined the Red Sox in 2003. The righty reliever connected with the Angel Fund president Rich Kennedy and pledged to donate $500 for every relief appearance he made. Timlin then proceeded to make 81 appearances in 2004 and 78 appearances in 2005.
Kennedy, who lost both his father and his younger brother to ALS, was grateful for the exposure, as well as the fund-raising. A little more than two years ago, he was also diagnosed while he was training for what would have been his 32nd marathon.
Myers, 48, had stayed in shape since last pitching in the big leagues in 2007, but he was not a serious runner. After committing to run Boston, he embarked on an aggressive 30-week program in October to get ready.
Although Myers played for the Red Sox, he did not have much familiarity with the course heading into the race.
“I knew how to get from Fenway Park to the finish line, but that was about it,” said Myers, who now works for the MLB Players Association.
Whenever someone asked Myers what his goal was, he replied that it would be to run 100 percent. It didn’t quite work out that way, as Myers estimated he walked maybe a mile and a quarter, but ran the rest of the race.
“I’m just glad I was able to do this for ALS.”