Running to Support Vital Resources in the Urban Community


With only two months until the 2015 Boston Marathon, preparations are in full swing. This year, the Friends of the Public Garden is represented by Team Friends, composed of two dedicated runners: Deb Howe and Lina Hristova. Deb and Lina are working hard to prepare for the marathon: physically, mentally, and charitably. Both of these women are fundraising to benefit our treasured greenspaces – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

We recently learned more about Lina and her reasons for choosing Team Friends. She has been a distance runner for several years and has completed three marathons. This is Lina’s first time running in the Boston Marathon, and she looks forward to “the emotionally charged field, the fun crowds,” and running with her Team Friends partner, Deb, a fellow Mount Holyoke alumna. Of course, the bragging rights that come along with completing the Marathon are just the cherry on top!

Lina works as a project manager for a software company and also operates a diversified forest products business, which includes beekeeping and growing mushrooms. She shares the Friends’ passion for the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. “The Boston public parks are a vital resource for the urban community,” she says. Lina believes that having these open spaces is beneficial, not only to the surrounding community, but to Boston visitors as well. Lina joined Team Friends to support the work of the Friends: providing the funds and support that are vital to keeping our parks healthy.

If you would like to help Lina raise money to benefit the parks, donate to Team Friends on our CrowdRise page, or to learn more visit or email

Thank You to the Friends Marathon Team

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A huge thank you goes out to the Friends Marathon Team for representing our organization in the Boston Marathon, and to everyone who supported our runners every step of the way.  We are honored that you chose to represent us and support care of the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall in this historic event.

Visit our pre-marathon blog post to learn more about our 2014 runners: Meet the Friends Marathon Team

Meet the Friends Boston Marathon Team

Photo: FayFoto and
Photo: FayFoto and

For the second consecutive year, the Friends of the Public Garden has a Boston Marathon team.  Five people will be running in this historic foot race from Hopkinton to Boston, specifically to support the care of the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.  Meet our marathoners and learn about what inspired them to run this race for our historic green spaces.

Brian Ladley

Brian says, “When I discovered Friends of the Public Garden was seeking runners, I was ecstatic.  I knew this would be a perfect fit for me.  I understand the effort and resources it requires to keep these special places in excellent condition, available to the public and protected from commercial encroachment.” Brian was a member of the 2013 Friends of the Public Garden Marathon Team and was unable to complete the race due to the bombing incident that day.

Kate Norris Linzmeyer

Kate has loved the Common and the Mall ever since she arrived in Boston in 2004 as a freshman at Boston University. She says, “After moving back to Boston in 2010 I would walk through the Common before and after every job interview downtown.  A perfect place to reflect on the conversations had and evaluate potential opportunities, I found myself appreciating it in new ways.”

Robert Rogers

It has been a year of firsts for Rob.  He moved to Boston to begin a residency program at Massachusetts General Hospital, and is preparing for his inaugural Boston marathon.  As a Beacon Hill resident and avid runner, Rob appreciates having these historic parks in his new backyard and says that he runs through “the beautifully maintained Common and Public Garden” several times a week.

Lori Shoemaker

Lori was a member of the 2013 Friends Marathon Team and was prevented from completing the race due to the day’s events. She has returned as a member of the 2014 Friends team to support our wonderful green spaces and finish the race. She says, “Green spaces are crucial to any city and Boston’s Common, Public Garden and the Commonwealth Ave Mall are truly extraordinary.  When I was living in Boston, these green spaces were very much a part of my life and I always found ways to make sure they were on my route to where ever I was headed!” 

Kristina Vetter

As a child, Kristina used these parks frequently as her neighborhood park and recalls her mother taking her on daily walks through the Public Garden.  Although she resides in California, her family’s commitment to these green spaces remains strong today.  Her father, Frank Mead is a long-time supporter of the Friends and a current board member.

The Friends would like to express their grateful appreciation to the John Hancock Non-Profit Marathon Program for their generous support.

Boston Marathoners race to support Friends of the Public Garden


Needless to say, 2013 was a tough year for the Boston Marathon. However, in true #bostonstrong fashion, we are looking forward to making the 2014 Marathon the best one yet! We are thrilled to be represented in the John Hancock Non-Profit Marathon Program by Team Friends of the Public Garden. Spurred on by the tragic events of last year, our team is determined to finish all 26.2 miles of the marathon while also raising money for care of the historic parks we support – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

Team Friends of the Public Garden members are:  Brian Ladley, Kate Norris, Robert Rogers, Lori Shoemaker, and Kristina Vetter. This fabulous group of five will be running for their love of the race, their love of the city of Boston, and the strong connections they share with our parks. Whether they grew up in Boston or have just moved here, they are eager to lace up their running shoes to participate in what is expected to be one of the most historic marathons of all time.

The Boston Marathon takes place on April 21st, Patriot’s Day. Leading up to the main event, we will be highlighting each individual team member of Team Friends of the PublicGarden. Be sure to check back to learn more about our team members and support their Boston Marathon run and the parks! Contributions of any size are most welcome and will help the Friends continue to care for our treasured green spaces.

Overcoming the Challenges of Marathon Training

The Boston Marathon is just 11 weeks away! Team Friends is pumped and ready to tackle the challenges that come with running a race of this distance. In fact, many of our team members have had to overcome injuries or illnesses and navigate how time off would effect their training schedules. We’re happy to say that everyone is fully recovered and ready to train hard as we approach the home stretch of marathon preparations.

marathon cartoon 3

Team member, Allison Byrne suffered a foot injury that prevented her from running for 3 weeks. Allison used her time productively and hit the pool when she could not strap on those running shoes. She continues her training now with a better understanding of her body and feels confident she will be prepared to face Marathon Monday. Her goal is to build back up her mileage slowly to avoid risking another injury so close to race day.

Lori Shoemaker is a marathon pro. She’s been running since the age of 9 and has completed quite a few marathons over years. So she was not concerned when the “super flu” ran through her family, she knew training could wait until she was back in good health. Instead of stressing about how her performance would be affected by a break, she took a leisurely recovery and is back in the grind now. Lori feels confident that she will be ready by race day.
Brian Ladley was also out of commission for a few weeks with, what he calls, his “annual Christmas cold”. Brian is also no novice to marathon training. He knew he could afford to take a few weeks off in the early stages of his training and that he would benefit from allowing himself a full recovery before pushing his body too hard.

We’re happy that all the members of Team Friends are fully recovered and back on the road. This weekend was the longest run of the Fitcorp training program! We’ll be checking in with our runners soon to see how they felt after the run and any insight they’d like to share about training for a marathon!

Don’t forget to visit the Team Friends Fundraising Page!

A Marathon Team Worth Cheering For

After many applications and deliberations, we are happy to say we have found the three remaining members of Team Friends to run the Boston Marathon. Back in November, we introduced our first marathon runner, Laura Jennings, and now it’s time to get to know the rest of Team Friends. We’ll let them tell you their stories themselves.

Allison Byrne

“I have just signed up to run the Boston Marathon. For those of you who know me well enough, my standard comment on any marathon is ‘I don’t even enjoy driving in a car for 4 hours much less running for that long!’ The longest I have ever run is 6.2 miles but I feel I am up to the challenge. I think with the recent loss of my sister and my dog, I have found extra motivation or confidence, or maybe it is simply a ‘you only live once’ attitude. I am going for it!

I will be running to raise money for the Friends of the Public Garden. This money supports Boston’s Public Garden, The Comm. Ave Mall and the Boston Common. These parks are near and dear to my heart. One of the last beautiful sites I was able to share with my sister was the Comm. Ave Mall tree lights at night this past winter. They really are magical. As for my dog, Murphy, he was the unofficial Mayor of Boston. We were always out on the Boston Common and he knew everyone! This past year a dedicated group of us dog owners have been working with the Friends of the Public Garden on getting approval from the city of Boston for the first Off-leash dog park on the Common. The application has just been submitted and we are all hopeful!  Stay tuned…

So it is easy for me to want to honor Karina and Murphy by raising money for these parks that enriched their lives and mine as well.  Please consider making a donation to help me reach my goal.”

Brian Ladley

“I am so excited to have the opportunity to run in the Boston Marathon!  I have been a ‘marathoner’ since I crossed the finish line of the Cape Cod Marathon in 2009 and since then I have run marathons in Philadelphia, New York City, and Bermuda. Whenever I tell anyone that I run marathons, their first question is always, ‘Have you run Boston?’ Even non-runners know Boston is special. Boston is the Holy Grail of marathons.

I started running in high school, and since then ran casually for many years. In 2003 I experienced significant hearing loss that continues to this day due to an illness. Running was my way to focus on my health and come to terms with my challenges of communication. It took me a while to realize that even though I might not be able to communicate effectively, I could still sure as heck run.

When I discovered Friends of the Public Garden was seeking runners, I was ecstatic. I knew this would be a perfect fit for me. I have truly loved visiting the Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Ave Mall since I moved to Massachusetts in 2005. I understand the effort and resources it requires to keep these special places in excellent condition, available to the public and protected from commercial encroachment.

Thank you so much for reading this and I hope you will consider supporting me in this effort!”

Lori Shoemaker

“Green spaces are crucial to any city and Boston’s Common, Public Garden and the Commonwealth Ave Mall are truly extraordinary. When I was living in Boston, these green spaces were very much a part of my life and I always found ways to make sure they were on my route to where ever I was headed! While I live in Palo Alto now, Boston has a very special place in my heart and to be able to support the Friends of the Public Garden is truly an honour. My Mom, who died last year, loved trees, gardening and flowers and I called her on my cell phone many times from these parks. I am running this marathon in her memory and also in support of my Mom’s sister who just recently went through a similar medical emergency. The Boston Marathon is my Aunt’s favourite marathon to watch – given her battle this year, it is only fitting that I run 26.2 miles!”

Team Friends has already begun training and fundraising – neither of which can be done overnight! Each runner has a goal to raise a minimum of $5,000 in an effort that will markedly help to preserve the country’s oldest public parks and gardens. We hope you will support our Friends and runners by visiting our fundraising page. The Boston Marathon will take place on Monday, April 15, 2013.

Team Friends Starts Training

This past Saturday was the first day of Fitcorp training for Team Friends. Team members Laura Jennings and Allison Byrne attended the 6-mile long run starting from Fitcorp’s Beacon Hill location. The route was straight down Beacon Street to the Holiday Inn, where runners enjoyed a quick water break. Just before the run started, snow began falling from the sky. “I’ve never run in snow before,” Allison reported, “I guess I better start getting used to it now”.

As the runs increase in distance more water stops will be provided by the Fitcorp Team. Both Laura and Allison are first time marathoners and plan to attend as many training sessions as possible to make sure they are ready to conquer the Boston Marathon course! Laura is looking forward to hill training, which is scheduled to begin in January. “I’m not going to let heartbreak hill get me down,” Laura said, “I want to train on it until I love it–that’s going to be my favorite part of the race”.

To learn more about the runners or to make a donation please visit out fundraising page.