By Avonlea Cummings
Hometown Weekly Sports Reporter
Stan Chokler has been a Needham resident for the last seven years. In the Needham community, he has built a family of a wife and kids. On Monday, April 17th, Chokler completed his first Boston Marathon.
Chokler has always been keen on the Boston Marathon ever since moving to America when he was young. Throughout the years, Chokler has cheered on the countless runners taking on the marathon challenge by celebrating with them at the finish line.
This year, as he is turning 40, he knew it was his time to do so. There were a few things that inspired and pushed him along the way leading him to his first marathon.
“Running the marathon was always something I wanted to accomplish. Turning 40 this year I knew it was the time to do it, and it was the ten-year anniversary of the bombing. I was at the Red Sox game in 2013 that day, and we had left to go to the finish line like all those times before. That day, we had stopped by on the way somewhere and that’s when the bombing happened. So, it has always been close to home. Although another main reason for running was to show my kids leading by examptle, that I may not be a runner, I am willing to get uncomfortable to achieve my goals,” said Chokler.
Chokler was part of the Spaulding rehab hospital running team comprised of around 80 people, raising money for the organization. Having a friend who works at the facility, he has been to a few of their fundraising events where he has been able to meet patients and hear their stories which inspired him to join the team.
“Spaulding rehab hospital is a non-profit hospital. A lot of their income is from raising money through events like the Boston Marathon. They treated over thirty people who were a part of the Boston Marathon bombing. Being able to meet people through their events, it is amazing and inspiring to see people who never thought were able to walk again with Spaulding they were now running the marathon with me,” said Chokler.
After signing up in the fall of 2022, Chokler knew he could face challenges ahead during training.
“Training was honestly very challenging, with the weather, working full time, and having kids. We had team runs on the weekends so I would always commit to those as much as I could. but it was pretty cool to see that I could barely make it to three miles when I started to now run a marathon. It still doesn’t feel real,” said Chokler.
During the time of the race, Chokler was supported by his wife, kids, parents, friends, and of course, the crowd as he took on his greatest challenge yet, Heartbreak Hill.
“Heartbreak Hill was definitely the most challenging, my family met me right before. The hill itself wasn’t challenging it was at that point I had already run 17 miles. Although the crowd really helped me get through it, if it wasn’t for the crowd I don’t know if I could have gotten up that hill,” said Chokler.
With reality still sinking in on completing the marathon, Chokler couldn’t be more proud to say he did it from start to finish. He shared a piece of advice to the Needham community who may be looking for a challenge themselves.
“I would say if you put your mind and the work into it then anything is possible. If there is something you want to achieve go out there and put your mind to it because anything is possible,” said Chokler.