By Jim Sullivan
---- — As a 20-year veteran of the Everett Police Department, Byfield’s Robert Hall knows he has to have his partner’s back.
Hall’s partner in the Everett Police Department, Richard Connor, has a son, Jared, who suffers from Sanfilippo Syndrome, a rare MPS-III disease that affects the brain. Hall, 47, will be running his fourth Boston Marathon next Monday to help out.
The official cause Hall and his fellow officers are running to benefit is Cops for Kids with Cancer, a nonprofit charity that raises money for families of children challenged with cancer. Each of the families is then awarded $5,000 in the hopes of relieving some of the stress of their financial burdens and putting a smile on their faces. So far, Hall has raised over $4,500. Having seen Jared and his family’s fight against the 7-year-old’s disease first-hand, he knows how important that occasional smile can be.
“It makes it a little bit easier for the families to face what they are going through,” Hall said. “I just wanted to do something to give back to the community.”
While training for Boston, Hall averages running 6 to 20 miles a day, making his way through Byfield, Newbury, Rowley and Georgetown. He then bumps that up over the weekend to average 65 miles a week.
The narcotics division detective started running in the police academy, running an average jog, 5K or 10K.
“I liked to run or jog,” said Hall. “And as a police officer, it was a stress reliever.”
In the fall of 2008, he finished his first half marathon, then ran the Walt Disney World Marathon in Florida in early 2009.
“Once I had accomplished that half marathon, it was a challenge to do something bigger,” said Hall. “I ran a little bit faster than I thought. I also liked the challenge of doing something new.”
Hall liked it so much he kept going, running his first Boston Marathon directly after in 2009, then again in 2010 and 2011. This year will mark his fourth charge up Heartbreak Hill and his eighth marathon overall.
“It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had at a marathon,” the Everett native said of his first Boston Marathon. “It was exhilarating, running through my hometown.”
Hall’s personal best marathon is 3:19, and he hopes to get close to that next week running alongside fellow Everett officer Sean Bagley. After that, Hall will keep running for Jared and good causes.
“We’ve done all kinds of road races,” Hall said of his fellow officers. Hall says that people interested in sponsoring him for the Boston Marathon this year can reach him at the Everett Police Department.