The inspiration behind the race: Shay Hirsch
Shay Hirsch; avid runner, mother, philanthropist and native Boisean, was the wife of well known former publisher of Runner’s World magazine, George Hirsch. George continues to chair the New York Road Runners, a nonprofit that organizes the New York City Marathon, and is an strong advocate for the Onward Shay, Boise Marathon each year.
Shay and George met 29 years ago at a marathon in New Jersey. George asked Shay out, she said no. The next day, he managed to find her during the race, running with her the entire way. She fell in love, and they were married the next year!
Shay made friends all over the world. Anyone who knew her would tell you she was kind, giving, and exuberant.
Her battle with cancer
Now, with the help of George Hirsch and close friends Betsy Luce and Jan Bastian, we hold this marathon in her name. All proceeds are donated to her favorite charities, including the WCA (Women & Children’s Association), RODS (Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome) , St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute, St. Alphonsus Cancer Care Center, Children's Home Society, International Rescue Committee, Prolific, Lee Pesky Learning Center, and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
Shay was sadly diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer and fought this disease for 11 years. During her battle, she would send updates and letters to friends and family, always signing off with "Onward, Love Shay."
We honor her memory by incorporating her favorite book the Wizard of Oz, pulling themes of courage, heart and bravery - pretty much what is needed to finish a marathon.