TB12 Spotlight: Susan Hurley
Susan Hurley is no stranger to cheering people on. But the energetic former New England Patriots cheerleader isn’t cheering on Pats players from the sidelines anymore — now, she cheers on her CharityTeams runners.
In 2008, Susan founded CharityTeams, a business that helps nonprofit organizations fundraise through races like the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon, and the Falmouth Road Race.
She isn’t just cheering on these runners either; she is a runner herself.
“I would run in high school as a way to stay in shape as a cheerleader,” she said. “Then when I was cheerleading for the Patriots, we had weigh-ins so I would run make sure I made weight.”
Before that, though, she started running for a very different reason.
“I used to miss the bus a lot, so I’d have to run to school,” she explained laughingly.
What started out of necessity in order to get to school on time became enjoyment for her and her friend Marsha during their teens.
“Marsha and I would go on a run around the neighborhood, and my neighbors would think ‘What is wrong with her?’ because girls weren’t really running back then.”
“People always used to make fun of me, because I was always exercising as a kid. Even as a young girl, I remember exercising in my room — black and white TV — watching Jack Lalanne.”
“Back then it was more of a physical appearance thing — more about body image rather than the health benefits of exercise. The word ‘skinny’ — that’s what girls wanted. That ‘Jane Fonda’ sort of thing.”
But now she exercises to be fit, not just to look fit.
She has run hundreds of races and dozens of marathons, is a certified Road Runners Club of America professional running coach, and continues to qualify for the Boston Marathon, year after year.
“Health is success. I look at someone like Tom Brady — and not to compare myself to him, actually, I’m a lot older than him — and think to myself ‘I’m out there performing too. I can keep going too.’ I always try to look ahead and not back because I want to be doing this for a long time.”
“I just have to keep up with these kids! It’s a motivation for me to stay young and healthy. I always tell them that experience wins, but I have to continue to be disciplined to get out there every day. You’ve got to keep going because you have one body — are you doing everything you can to take care of it? That’s what I think about every single day, and how I live my life.”
She shares this energy and passion for fitness and cheering others on through CharityTeams and her runners.
“I started CharityTeams because I wanted to have a job that I loved and that incorporated fitness and cheering people on. I like to call it strength in numbers. You affect lives, help people set goals and achieve those goals all while helping worthy charities in our community. It’s a win for everybody.”
This year, Susan is running the Boston Marathon for the TB12 Foundation because of her belief in the philosophy.
“First and foremost is your health. If you spend your life taking care of yourself the best way you can, then you can be doing what I’m doing when you’re 56 years old. I really believe that the way that young people are treated with injuries — the meds they are given, the countless surgeries — you’ve got to break that cycle!”
“I want the next generation of kids to learn a healthy, holistic way to get stronger to prevent injury and rehab themselves better if they do get injured, so they have greater athletic potential in the future.”
“We have to start training smarter, and recovery has to be a part of your training. I’m so glad, that finally, recovery is being addressed because I’m a firm believer in it and what TB12 teaches.”