LYNN — If you had one birthday wish, would it be to run 26.2 miles in predicted 56-degree rainy weather? Probably not, but it is for 31-year-old Maria Cameron of Lynn. Cameron’s 32nd birthday is April 15, and she will be running for FamilyAid Boston in her first Boston Marathon.
“I feel like I got a lot of exposure to the homeless epidemic at a really young age,” Cameron said. “I feel like it was beneficial for me to be exposed to poverty at a young age because it opens up my heart to misconceptions about homelessness.”
The homeless epidemic is what prompted Cameron to run, and the tech savvy mother is using social media to help her cause. Facebook and Instagram are the social networking sites she uses the most, and she has currently raised $7,861 for FamilyAid, which is $351 over her goal.
Cameron’s goal is to change the perspective on homelessness and why it happens.
“If you look at my charity, they teach people independent living skills, how to build a résumé. A lot of them are veterans or are single mothers who suffered domestic violence,” said Cameron.
The stay at home mother of two was inspired to run the Boston Marathon after reading “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins.
“I said if I’m going to do something I’ve always wanted to do I can’t just think about it, I have to to it,” Cameron said. “That day I went out and bought a pair of running shoes.”
Cameron wasn’t running alone, her three-month-old son Ashton was her training partner in a running stroller for the first five months before the weather chilled.
Finding the time to run with two kids and a husband working two jobs has been an obstacle for Cameron, as well as the unpredictable weather.
“This was a horrible winter to train in, I would get soaked, I had to run on ice,” she said.
Training in Lynn Woods one night Cameron came across another obstacle she did not expect.
“I actually got chased by turkeys one night,” she said.
The Boston Marathon bombings happened on April 15, 2013, that was Cameron’s birthday and it had a profound effect on her.
“I remember having that feeling I can’t ever imagine running, and now here I am,” she said.
Cameron has followed a strict vegetarian diet for 12 years, with minimal dairy and eats fresh fruits and vegetables. She believes consistency in one’s diet is the key to training for a marathon.
“Training has changed the way I look at fueling my body,” Cameron said.
She also has her eyes set on the Shipyard Maine Coast Half and Full Marathon in Kennebunkport, Maine. She plans to run the full marathon May 13.
“I would love to maybe a year from now do either the Chicago or New York City Marathon,” she said.
If you would like to donate to Maria Cameron, please visit FamilyAid Boston.