By Ed Karvoski Jr., Culture Editor
Hudson/Hopkinton – Monica and Steve Burnett of Hudson work at Dell EMC in Hopkinton and are active members of the Highland City Striders (HCS) running club. On Monday, April 15, they’ll run their second Boston Marathon with a team that consists of many Dell EMC employees and benefits the Michael Lisnow Respite Center in Hopkinton. This marks the 21st year that the respite center has organized a marathon team.
According to the team’s CrowdRise page, “As we begin 2019 and our 21st Boston Marathon season, our goal is to continue to increase respite and support services for families trying to survive the challenges of raising a child with disabilities. Last year the respite center raised just over $600,000 with a team of 72 runners. These funds made it possible to grant scholarships and also provide over 40,000 hours of service to families in need.”
The Burnetts are relatively new runners. Monica began running in 2011, then joined HCS two years later. She persuaded Steve to start running in 2014.
Explaining their runners’ network, Monica shared, “I didn’t join HCS right away because I was afraid they’d all be super-fast and snobby. Turned out, that’s completely opposite of what HCS is. I’ve volunteered for so many charitable races through this running club. Whenever somebody needs something, everyone shows up.”
Prior to Dell acquiring EMC in 2016, annual raffles were traditionally conducted with bibs given to employees for the respite center’s team. Monica entered the raffle four consecutive years. A raffle wasn’t done for the 2017 marathon team, she noted.
The Burnetts were pleasantly surprised with bibs offered via a phone call in mid-February 2017. At the time, Monica had done two marathons elsewhere; Steve had yet to run one. With only seven weeks to train and fundraise, they collected nearly $10,000 and completed the 2017 Boston Marathon in slightly over five hours.
“You can’t turn down the Boston Marathon,” Steve declared. “The crowd gives you the energy to keep going. Turning onto Boylston Street, I could see the finish line, but it seemed so far away. I had calf spasms and runners helped me finish in a respectable time. The running community is amazing.”
After volunteering at last year’s Boston Marathon, the Burnetts initially considered waiting to run it again in 2020 to commemorate their 25th wedding anniversary. Instead, they decided to get bibs and start fundraising with donations from work colleagues on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. Training commenced soon afterward.
“Dell matches employees’ charitable donations up to $10,000 per year,” Monica explained. “We got a couple thousand dollars right away.”
On Feb. 2, they hosted an organic meat shoot fundraiser at Hudson-Concord Elks Lodge 959. Among their supporters were fellow HCS members.
The Burnetts’ Boston Marathon goals this year are to improve their finish times and surpass $10,000 for the respite center.
“It’s wonderful that the respite center gives us the opportunity to run the marathon and we’re able to give back to them,” Steve said.
To donate online, visit crowdrise.com/monicaandsteveburnett.