Seventeen years ago, Lisa O’Neill of Dorchester, started a tradition. That’s when she first ran the Falmouth Road Race.
She’ll continue the August ritual this Sunday when she does so once again. “Every year I like to pick a different charity and help raise money for that charity,” she said. This year, she’ll do so for Heroes In Transition; she’s being joined by her friends Jeff Zynda and Mark Vahey on Team HIT.
“I love it,” she said of the race. “It is beautiful and I appreciate the people who live in Falmouth. They are so nice and they all come out and cheer you on. They have hoses and hand out oranges. It is nice to see that kind of support for the runners. I like it a lot.”
The race has a significance for O’Neill who first decided to run it after a trainer at her gym suggested she pick a goal and work towards it. “I decided to run a race and this is the one I picked,” she explained.
That first race, she was pregnant with her son Connor, now 16, although she didn’t know it at the time. “It has a special meaning to me,” she said.
Since that first race, O’Neill has run in several marathons, including Boston, New York City, and San Francisco. Still, it’s Falmouth that remains her favorite.
Part of the reason is it has allowed her to make a difference by supporting causes like Heroes In Transition. She was impressed by the fact that roughly 91 percent of every dollar donates goes back into our programming.
“I also love that they do things not only for veterans, but for their families,” she said. “Having retreats that help strengthen relationships and help veterans focus on their physical as well as mental wellness, I love that.”