In today’s 119th Boston Marathon, the members of Team Red Cross won’t just be running for a cause, they will be celebrating their team captain’s 10th and final Boston Marathon.
Karen Teller has been called an ambassador extraordinaire when it comes to her work with the Red Cross, wearing the hats of leader, fund raiser and volunteer. But her title as Captain, Team Red Cross in Boston’s historic and America’s oldest marathon is what swells her pride this April. After a brutal New England winter that tested the city’s wherewithal in a landscape that has looked more like Nome, Alaska, she says her team is ready.
“I hate treadmill running. Just running one mile feels like 20 to me on a ‘dreadmill,’” said Teller. “So this challenging year required creativity and determination when preparing to run outside. I bought several things to attach to my feet for running in the ice and snow.”
“I did have a first. My good friend Melissa, who is on Team Red Cross and running her first marathon, and I ran 14 miles inside the Reggie Lewis Track. I think the wind chill was minus ten that day, so running in shorts and a tee shirt made up for the boredom of running in circles (eight laps to a mile) and the blisters we got from turning so many corners,” said Teller
But the winter weather did not slow down the team’s fundraising activities. Team Red Cross has raised over $289,000, closing in on the goal of $325,000. Teller has individually raised over $13,000 while leading the 52 member team. Since 2012, team runners have raised more than $849,000 to support Red Cross programs and services. Runners of all ages and abilities proudly represent the American Red Cross at the Boston Marathon, from first time marathoners to experienced competitors.
“My friends know how involved and committed I am as a volunteer so they are very generous with their support,” said Teller. “There are many great organizations that need funds to continue their mission and many ways to give back to our community that came together after the 2013 event. I am proud of our city and of our marathon.”
In addition to her volunteer role as Captain of Team Red Cross, Teller serves as a member of The American Red Cross of Massachusetts Board of Directors, Vice Chair of the local American Red Cross Tiffany Circle society of women leaders, and a dedicated volunteer at the Red Cross Boston Food Pantry.
“This year, I am running to support our capital campaign to build a new DOC (Disaster Operations Center) for our headquarters in Cambridge, Mass,” said Teller. “We have an aggressive fundraising effort taking place this year to raise three million dollars and I am pledging my donations to this much needed improvement. Every dollar you donate will assure we have the most state of the art, up to date technology to service our community when the time comes.”
Teller was elected to the Board of the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts in 2012. Karen holds a BA from Widener University and an MBA from the Boston University Graduate School of Management. Teller’s career has been in business development in the foam fabrication industry. She is currently consulting with companies in the foam industry. She also is a Managing Director and an active member of the Golden Seeds Angel Investing Group.
An avid runner, Teller is a member of the Boston Athletic Association and organized the Team Red Cross in 2012 to raise funds for the Red Cross through participation in the Boston Marathon. She was captain of Team Red Cross in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Boston Marathons.
“Last year I said this was my last Boston Marathon,” said Teller. “It’s just too hard to train in the winter to run a spring marathon. We train in freezing weather, then one day in April the temperatures elevate to August temperatures.”
“Next year I will volunteer to load runners on the buses heading to Hopkinton and wish them a good race. I will smile, be proud and know that I have been in their sneakers,” said Teller.