PEABODY — Mike Gould has a unique reason for putting himself through the 26.2-mile ordeal of the Boston Marathon: to see if he can someday push others.
“My main goal is to push someone in a wheelchair for the whole race,” he said. “I figure if I’m going to do that, I may as well see whether I can run it myself.”
Gould, 33, will run to benefit the Northeast Arc, an organization out of Danvers that strives to make life better for those with disabilities.
He got the inspiration to push a wheelchair-bound person through both Team Hoyt — the famous father-son duo that do the Marathon annually — and Craig Welton, Arc’s chief development officer.
“He runs while pushing someone in a wheelchair,” said Gould, whose family owns Treadwell’s Ice Cream in Peabody.
Gould found out that Northeast Arc had some marathon bibs available. The only thing he had to do to get one of the official numbers to run was to raise $7,500 for the charity — a figure he has already exceeded by more than $2,500.
“Raising the money has been the least stressful part of this,” Gould said. “A lot of people have come out for me, through social media, CrowdRise, family, friends … everyone’s been on board.”
Gould said running the race has been on his bucket list for a long time.
“I’ve gone in to watch the race every year for a long time, and I’ve always been intrigued,” he said. “(The Marathon) is one of the best things about being in Boston. It’s like it’s the unofficial first day of spring.
“Always, in the back of my mind, it’s been ‘can I do it?’ Well, (on April 15) we’re going to find out.”
He admits that since he’s a rookie, preparation is the key to running the race.
“It’s all in the training,” he said. “It’s been a long process. Thankfully, I’ve done pretty well with it. But mentally, the training beats you up. You finish your run on one day, and you’re happy, and then the next day comes pretty quickly and you have to do it again. It’s a daily grind. You do four miles one day, five the next, and you can’t question it, or beg off, or decide you want to sleep in. You just have to do it. You have to be at the top of your game.”
He has confined his training mainly to running, and he’s at the point where he does one long run a week.
“Not 26 miles,” he said. “It’s really not advisable to run the whole thing beforehand.”
However, a few weeks ago, he ran the course from Hopkinton to the last of the Newton hills, and says he learned a few things from doing that.
For example, the first part of the course is downhill, “so you can’t go so fast that you kill your run after four miles,” he said. “And it seems that by the time you get to the hills, what makes them so difficult is that your body is tired.”
The Gould family has had a long history of working with mentally and physically disabled people.
“My father (Peabody City Councilor Tom Gould) does a lot,” Gould said. “That is my avenue of contribution. We (Treadwells) do that as well.
“I have pushed people in road races before,” he said, “but only five miles at a time. I’ve always thought about doing it for a long race. And the Hoyt story is amazing.”
He didn’t just hit the road running.
“In the beginning, I picked a lot of people’s brains,” he said. “Now, I stick to my own routine. After all, it’s your body.”
It also helps for him to visualize crossing the finish line.
“I’m a visual-type person,” he said. “Just crossing the finish line on two feet and with a smile, that’s my goal. I don’t care how long it takes.”