LYNN — It’s not often you get to marry two of your passions in life, but Lynn’s Thomas Mackin is giving it a go.
Mackin, 20, a Classical High School graduate who attends North Shore Community College, is resurrecting his running career — which flourished in school — to run the Boston Marathon to raise money for the Massachusetts General Hospital emergency response team.
Mackin, a marathon rookie, decided last October that he would finally remove “running the Boston Marathon” from his bucket list.
“I’ve thought about doing this since I was 14 or 15,” he said.
However, since he did his best running in high school, he knew he’d never make the qualifying time of three hours.
“I’d stopped running,” said the one-time Classical cross-country star. “I knew I wasn’t in any kind of shape to make that time.”
For those who cannot qualify on their running, there are several organizations that reach out to runners to help raise money. Mass. General is one, and for the Mackins it has played a vital role in their lives. His older sister, Makenzie, now 23, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when she was 11, and her high school years were marred by repeated complications stemming from the condition.
“Mass. General has been close to our family because of (Makenzie),” Mackin said. “When she was in high school, we spent a lot of time there.
“I don’t care who it is,” he said. “You don’t want to see anyone go through that, whether she’s your sister of not.”
Mackin said to be accepted as part of the MGH running team, he had to submit an essay detailing why he chose the hospital as a charity.
“I told them all about my sister,” he said. “I was very excited to be picked. It gives me a chance to do something for the organization that helped our family. That’s pretty cool.”
But there’s another reason Mackin chose to run on behalf of the MGH emergency response team.
“My father (John) is on the police force in Lynn,” he said, “and they are all first responders. It was a way to acknowledge that.”
Once Mass. General accepts you as part of its running team, it provides you with a general preparation list to make sure runners don’t injure themselves before they ever get to the starting line.
“It’s pretty general,” he said. “I took it and adapted it to my own life. They give you a program, how many miles per week you should be running when you start to train, how to build up, things like that.”
By now, Mackin said, runners should entering the peak period of their running, probably around 50 miles per week.
He’ll run his maximum number of miles at once this weekend or next — 20 miles.
But it’s one thing to do the prep work for a course like Boston’s. It’s another to be prepared to run it in real time, and with the conditions that go with it. And he knows that won’t be a piece of cake.
“I’ve heard the first few miles are downhill,” he said. “I don’t want to go out too fast. Because you get to the hills and your legs can be affected.”
He’s also hopes that the annual traffic jam doesn’t put him too far behind.
“I don’t want to go out too slow,” he said. “I’ve set some goals.”
Mackin, who lives in Lynn’s Pine Hill section with his mother, Paula, father, John, and his sister, runs around the neighborhood to train, and also likes Lynnfield Street and Lynn Woods. Basically it comes to anywhere that has hills, which doesn’t include the waterfront.
“Plus,” he said, “it’s windy down there.”
Before he can set foot on the starting line, Mackin needs $6,500 in pledges. As of Thursday, he had $4,500. He will have another fundraiser Friday, March 8 at the Hibernian Hall, with raffles, music, food and drinks.
“I’m grateful for all the support I’ve been getting,” he said. “People have been very generous, and that means a lot to me.”
Those wishing to donate to the MGH Emergency Response Team fund for Mackin’s run can do so at crowdrise.com/thomasmackin.