Lisa and Ron Kozlin visit the 20-mile marker on the actual Boston Marathon course during training.

Racing the Boston Marathon is often a runner’s dream. When Ron Kozlin found out he was accepted to run in April 2020, he was overjoyed. Unfortunately, everyone knows the end of that story. The worldwide pandemic postponed Kozlin’s race, but not the fire inside of him.

For Kozlin, this is about more than running in a prestigious race. He’s running with the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge Team, an organization that raises money for innovative cancer research.

Kozlin said, “The Dana Farber Organization is great. It’s not just helping cancer patients; it’s helping with therapies that attack cancer cells. All the money raised goes to that effort.”

Dana-Farber’s mission is to reduce the burden of cancer through scientific inquiry, clinical care, education, community engagement and advocacy. Last year, even though he ran the marathon virtually in his neighborhood, he still raised a little over $11,000. This year, he hopes to raise $13,000. He, along with about 400 committed teammates, hope to raise nearly $6 million as they run Massachusetts’ historic marathon route from Hopkinton to Boston.

Kozlin shared how both family and friends have been impacted by cancer and how he has a special reason for choosing this charity and this event: “I grew up in an extended family of distance runners, including my father, uncle and cousin. My uncle, Joe Kozlin, ran over 50 marathons in his lifetime, and Boston was always the crown jewel. He developed leukemia, and it was the fight he couldn’t win. I watched him go through that awful period of time where the treatments weren’t working, and so I always thought if I was going to run a marathon, it would be the Boston Marathon. I learned about this organization through a friend and it was a great opportunity to honor him, raise money for a great cause and run in the top marathon in the world.”

Kozlin is excited to finally run in person on Columbus Day—Monday, October 11—this year, and he cannot understate the importance of his support system: “I’ve been training since October of 2019. The long runs are 15-20 miles on the weekend. My wife, Lisa Kozlin, has been an amazing support. She’s usually riding a bike with me, getting up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. to ride alongside me with water and flashlights. She even followed me the entire virtual marathon.”

He’s kept up his training for two entire years, but he knows the cause is well worth it. “It’s not a trivial thing to commit to; it’s a great way to dedicate yourself to something, especially when you’re asking other people to donate,” he said.

Kozlin can accept donations up through Friday, October 29, past the date of the actual marathon. Follow him on social media with the hashtag #runronrun. To donate to the cause and help him reach his goal, visit

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