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!

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.


Meet Team Friends: Announcing our First Marathon Runner

We are delighted to present to you the first member of Team Friends:

Laura Jennings has agreed to be our first of 4 Boston Marathon runners for 2013. Laura has been running for several years, and has shocked her co-workers with her 20-mile pre-work runs. She frequently participates in 5ks and half marathons, and has placed amongst the top women in her races. This will be the first time Laura will run the Boston Marathon, and we are thrilled that Team Friends can help her achieve her dream! Come April Laura will be running a course that has been named one of the most difficult marathons in the world.

Laura has an inspiring story to tell, which you can read about in her own blog. She recalls how she overcame a serious injury on her way to accomplishing her goals.  Intrigued by her fortitude Team Friends decided to interview our first runner to really see what makes her tick.

1. What inspired you to run for Team Friends in the Boston Marathon?

I’ve done a lot of work with FOPG on their fundraising events through work and I’ve wanted to run the Boston Marathon pretty much since I moved to the city 2 years ago. When I saw Friends had bib numbers my heart was literally racing- I thought of all the good they could do with the money I raise. I couldn’t think of a better way to make my first marathon mean so much more to me.

2. Where is your favorite place to go for a jog in Boston?

I don’t really have a favorite place to run. Exploring new places is the most exciting. When I’m running around with no clue where I am that’s when I’m happiest. I do a lot of running along the Charles, but I try to run in lots of other places too so I can get some hill work.

3. What is your best running time?

I’m glad you asked. My best time in a 5k is 21:10. I did that this year. I also cut 10 minutes off my half marathon time, I ran 13.1 miles this year in 1:44:28.

4. Who is your role model?

I have two role models. One is a professional athlete who has the fastest American Woman marathon time in the world. Her name is Desiree Davila. She ran Boston two years ago. She was a mediocre runner through high school and college but when she decided she wanted to get serious about running, she got serious. I admire her because I feel like I’m in a similar situation. I’m not a great runner right now, but I want to be one day. I just have to set my mind to it. I learned that from Dessie. My second (well probably first) role model is my dad. He’s been running for as long as I can remember. He’s 60-years-old and still outruns me. I want to be like him when I grow up.

If you’d like to support Laura in her efforts to raise $5,ooo for Friends of the Public Garden, please visit her fundraising page. If you’re a marathon runner, or an aspiring one, and you’d like to join Laura on Team Friends, please visit our website or contact Mary Halpin at for more information.

And be sure to look out for Laura as she runs the marathon in April. We know we’ll all be there cheering on the culmination of months of hard work and training. Good luck, Laura!