Meredith Glansberg would be the first one to admit that she wasn’t much of an athlete growing up just south of Boston.
“My friends all laugh about it now,” Glansberg said. “I was definitely a late bloomer. I was not an athletic kid at all.”
In her early 20s and residing in Manhattan, Glansberg decided she needed some form of exercise.
“It was all because I couldn’t afford going to a gym like everyone else,” Glansberg said. “I wanted to be in good shape. So I started running.”
It didn’t come easy.
“I built myself up to get around Prospect Park,” Glansberg said. “I then found out that it was three miles, so I decided to try to get to five miles.”
At that point, Glansberg became an athlete – a determined and driven one at that.
“I was hooked,” Glansberg said. “I loved how I felt when I was training for my first half marathon in 2008. It just escalated from there. I liked the idea of building my times. I liked challenging myself to get better. It was more than a hobby and I needed a hobby.”
Through all the running, through the miles and miles of pavement pounding and physical demands, Glansberg had a huge fan and big time supporter – her father, Ken.
“Dad always came to cheer me on,” Glansberg said. “He really pushed me.”
And another thing took place through the late bloomer’s journey into road racing. Glansberg became part of the new Jersey City, the fabric of the burgeoning downtown area that is packed with young professional people.
“I love Jersey City,” says the 36-year-old Glansberg, who works in the sales of consumer package goods. “I’ve tried to convert my friends who live in Manhattan. I wanted to have a mix of city and suburbia, with a little more space, but access to everything. I love running along the waterfront at sunrise or sunset. It’s pretty amazing.”
Glansberg says that she averages about 30 miles a week in her training.
Glansberg pushed herself to run her first marathon in 2012 then had to take a break due to an injury. She returned to action in time to run the Miami Marathon in 2013 and then competed in the New York City Marathon later that year.
In 2012, Glansberg’s inspiration, father Ken, was diagnosed with cancer (multiple myeloma to be precise). He was treated at the prestigious Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
“It’s one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about Dana-Farber,” Glansberg explained.
In 2014, she competed in the Boston Marathon
“When I knew he was being treated at Dana-Farber, I saw all the Dana-Farber runners,” Glansberg said. “I knew then that I wanted to be a part of the organization. I looked around to see how I could be a part of it.”
The Dana-Farber Running Team runs to raised money for the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
In 1990, the first Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team consisted of only 19 runners. But this year, the roster of runners now stands at more than 500 runners. Glansberg, as well as a few other Hudson County residents, are now proud members of the Dana-Farber Marathon team that will participate in next Monday’s Boston Marathon.
Every runner is asked to raise a certain amount of money for the team. Glansberg’s pledge goal this year is $12,300, to coincide with the 123rd running of the Boston Marathon. She has recently reached that goal and is now looking to surpass $13,000.
“I’ve been using social media and reaching out to networks,” said Glansberg, who recently admitted that she was getting close to her goal. “People now realize how personal and passionate this is for me.”
Since she’s moved to Jersey City, Glansberg has become more involved in other physical activities, like weightlifting and kickboxing in a downtown Jersey City gym.
“But running remains a major part of my life,” Glansberg said. “It’s what I do. It provides a lot of emotional benefits. It’s almost too hard to describe. It gives you a purpose outside of yourself. And running with the Dana-Farber team gives it a meaningful platform. Every step of the way, everything we do, we know that we’re running for kids, for people who need care. It’s not just about the run. It’s about the people.”
And sure enough, Ken Glansberg and his wife, Myra, who Meredith calls “an incredible care giver and advocate,” will be at the finish line, cheering on their daughter.
“We all get together the night before for a pasta dinner,” Meredith Glansberg said. “We all know we’re accomplishing something special, running for a specific battle. For me, it’s highly emotional, from beginning to end.”
But after it’s all said and done, there’s a sense of accomplishment.
“It makes you feel like you’re making a difference,” Glansberg said. “It makes it special. The teammates all feel like family.”
Meredith and her family of 500 thank you for your support.
“If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be training for my sixth marathon and my third Boston Marathon and raising $10,000 for charity, I would have said you were crazy,” Glansberg said. “I never would have dreamed it.”
For more information about Meredith Glansberg and the chance to donate to the Dana-Farber team, log onto http://danafarber.jimmyfund.org/goto/runmerigrun.