Edgeville Buzz

Andersonville Woman To Run Boston Marathon Raising Money For Women’s Empowerment

An Andersonville woman is set to run the Boston Marathon on April 15 which will be her fifth race of the six World Marathon Majors. She has announced that she will be running to raise funds for 261 Fearless, Inc., a global non-profit women’s running organization.

In 2009, 43-year-old Shelly Fuerte began running to set a new goal for herself after losing 70 pounds. When her mother-in-law passed away a year later, she vowed to run her first marathon to raise money for cancer research. Since then, Fuerte and her husband made a big move to Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood in 2012 and she moved forward to run the Chicago, New York, Berlin and Toyko marathons. After running the Boston Marathon, Shelly will only only need to run the London marathon to complete all six of the World Marathon Majors.

Fuerte will be running the marathon this month to support 261 Fearless, a non-profit based out of  New York that is dedicated to promoting women’s empowerment. The organization was started by the first female to run the Boston Marathon in 1967, Kathrine Switzer. In 2015, Switzer started 261 Fearless Inc. which uses running as a vehicle to empower and unite women through the creation of local running clubs, education programs, communication platforms, and social running events.

“I met Kathrine Switzer last July when she came into Chicago for the Rock and Roll Race weekend,” said Fuerte. “I was able to run with her for a bit and we had this amazing conversation about running being a great equalizer. When you are standing on the starting line, everyone has a different journey or reason to be there. No one sees things such as color, race or sexual preference. Everyone will be on the same road with the same goal and that is a really beautiful thing if you stop to think about it. It was amazing how everything she said was so in line with how I try to live my life everyday.”

Currently, 261 Fearless Inc. has 50 clubs on five continents and is planning on starting their first Chicago club this Spring. Fuerte is excited about Chicago’s chapter of the organization and plans to be a part of it.

“With all the reports recently of women being attacked on running trails throughout the country, it’s clubs like this that form to offer a safe place for them as many run in groups,” Fuerte added. “Having that sense of community and empowerment is a truly amazing thing. I never really felt like an athlete and I probably would have not kept running if it were not for the running community. So I am excited to see the Chicago’s 261 Fearless club come to fruition.”

The Chicago 261 Fearless club will officially launch at their first meet run on Monday, May 6, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. in front of the Abe Lincoln statue at the entrance to Lincoln Park located at the intersection of North Avenue and Dearborn Parkway. They will then meet every Monday thereafter for one hour and focus on flexibility, strength, coordination, aerobic activity and most importantly new friendships. For more info on the run, contact 261 Fearless Club Metro Chicago Director Gayle McMurry at gmcmurry@261fearless.org.

Fuerte has set an $8,000 goal in financial support for 261 Fearless, Inc. She is already a little over halfway to that goal. To help her raise funds for her race, go to CLICK HERE.

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