Team Red Cross runners Andrew Crown and Jack Freese are roommates at Harvard who have left the world of rowing to team up and train for their first marathon. They were kind enough to take time out of a Saturday in March to volunteer at the Red Cross’ Service to Armed Forces Mobile Food Pantry in Brockton. Thanks to their hard work, the food pantry distributed 627 pounds of food to 41 veterans and their families that Saturday. Below is an interview with Andrew and Jack outlining their marathon training and volunteer experiences.
1. What was your experience working at the food pantry like?
Andrew: It was a pretty cold day so veteran attendance was not as high as usual. However, it was a humbling experience to work with the volunteers to help veterans of all ages and their families. It was nice to see where some of the money we have been raising is going.
Jack: We got involved with Red Cross initially because we knew they do amazing work. I had read about everything they do, but I had never volunteered first hand with the Red Cross. The most powerful part of my experience was to see how many volunteers there were from all over the Greater Boston area.
2. Thank you for running your first marathon with Team Red Cross. What was your history with running prior to this training?
Andrew: I am a former college varsity rower, and I have recently gotten involved in long distance running. Running with my roommate Jack, who is faster than me, keeps me motivated. We run together every single day. Spending so much time together has led to us adopting a brotherly relationship which has made training a fun experience.
Jack: I was a runner in high school, and then I walked on to the Crew team at Harvard where I met Andrew. I recently got back into running, which I enjoy a lot more than rowing. Having Team Red Cross back me up throughout the training process has been a huge help. There is a big difference between a 5k and 26.2 miles, and Team Red Cross’ knowledge base has been very helpful for preventing injury.
3. Tell us a little about your experience with the Red Cross and what inspired you to run for Team Red Cross in the Boston Marathon?
Andrew: Neither of us are fast enough to qualify, so we got on the Boston Marathon website to check out charities to run for. My family in Chicago is involved in the Red Cross and Katrina definitely made me realize all that the Red Cross contributes. I have been following the efforts of the Red Cross ever since. When I saw the Red Cross as a marathon charity, they were immediately my first choice. Then I heard about the benefits of running with Team Red Cross, such as access to volunteering, a training schedule, training runs, coaches, etc. and I knew without a doubt they were the team for me.
Jack: I had previously been to a blood donation event to support my friends who were donating but I had never donated myself. When I read about major events in the news, it always seems like the Red Cross is the group working to fix things. The Red Cross has a large important presence and efficiently helps people all across the country. It only seemed natural to raise money for the Red Cross because I know they will use my money efficiently.
Both Andrew and Jack are in competition to sound more charming than the other in this article, but we think what is the most charming of all is time and effort both of you have put into fundraising and training for Team Red Cross. On behalf of the Red Cross of Massachusetts, we would like to thank you for all the hard work you do for us.