Every morning this month, while most students were still asleep, President Emeritus Jim Doti was already on the run. He would start before sunrise with a one-mile warm-up joined by his German shepherd, Angel, before taking to the treadmill to put in more miles.
But Doti wasn’t running just to catch up on the latest episode of “Barefoot Contessa” on the TV above his treadmill. He was training for the Boston Marathon, which he ran on April 17.
“This may be my last one, so that’s special,” Doti said. “But the most special part of it is (that) it’s the first time I’ve ever run for a cause.”
Doti ran the Boston Marathon in honor of Ethan Beal, the 3-year-old son of communication studies professor Sharon Beal. Ethan Beal is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a rare type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many immature white blood cells, according to the National Cancer Institute.
This was Doti’s 60th marathon since he began 12 years ago.
“(Ethan) is a really fun, sweet kid,” Sharon Beal said. “He has a really tough personality. It’s been about a year and a half of living in and out of the hospital and the doctors were always surprised because he has a spunky personality.”
Doti and his wife, Lynne Doti, pledged $5,000 to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Ethan Beal’s name, hoping to find a someone who would match their donation.
“Running 26.2 miles is nothing compared to what Ethan has gone through,” Doti said.
The total donations raised for the institute came to about $35,000 since Doti started raising money in November.
Paul and Marybelle Musco, the main donors for the Musco Center for the Arts, were among those who gave.
Doti ran the marathon in five hours and 25 minutes. This was his 10th time running the Boston Marathon.
He skipped the marathon in 2013 – the year of the terrorist bombing at the finish line – to help Lynne Doti through breast cancer surgery.
“You never know, but my timing would have been right about the timing that the bombings hit – at about four hours and 10 minutes, in those days,” Doti said.
This may be Doti’s last marathon, but he plans to keep running smaller races and to keep up with the students from a former statistics class that he taught last semester who he runs with each week.
“It’s been such a great privilege for (Doti) to do this in Ethan’s name,” Sharon Beal said. “I think it’s really touching. I would love to meet him one day and say thank you.”