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Saugus Police Officer Alison Cooper talks about her goal to run in this year’s Boston Marathon.

2023 Boston Marathon
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  Editor’s Note: For this week, we sat down with Officer Alison Cooper, one of five members of the Saugus Police Department who are registered to run in the 127th Boston Marathon, which is set for Patriots’ Day, April 17. This is the second in a series of interviews with each of the Saugus Police marathon runners that will be published in The Saugus Advocate, leading up to Patriots’ Day weekend. We will highlight each runner’s marathon running background, how they prepare for the grueling 26.2 mile course that will draw a field of 30,000 runners from all over the world, their motivation to run a marathon and the charity they are running for.

  Officer Cooper, 31, is a 2010 graduate of Saugus High School. She received her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice/Psychology in 2014 from Curry College and has been a member of the Saugus Police Department for four years. She worked as a dispatcher with the Saugus Police Department in 2014-2018 and graduated from the Transit Police Academy in 2019. She is married to Daria Cooper. They have a puppy French bulldog named Rue. Officer Cooper is running for the Herren Project. Highlights of this week’s interview follow.

  Q: How did you get involved in marathon running?

  A: It was always a dream of mine to run the Boston Marathon when I turned 30 years old.

  Q: And why Boston?

  A: Boston is my home and I admire the city.

  Q: When did you start running?

  A: I have been an athlete my whole life, but I really focused on running in 2020.

  Q: How long have you been running? Why do you run? What do you get out of it?

  A: I have been running constantly for three years now. I run because it is the best way for me to handle my stress, and exercising not only the body but mind is huge for me. Running for me brings me peace and self-happiness.

  Q: How many Boston Marathons have you run in?

  A: This will be my second.

  Q: Talk about the sense of accomplishment you get from this exhausting and physically challenging activity. Not everybody gets out and runs a Boston Marathon.

  A: I do have good and bad days like everyone else. Getting in my head is something I am always working on, and just setting personal goals for myself like improving my time is important. Even though there are days that I am busy or just tired, I always just push myself to run because I know how great I will feel afterwards.

  Q: What’s it like at the start of the race? Or, what do you think it will be like?

  A: My first marathon I was full of mixed emotions – getting to Athletes Village and walking to the start line – I was excited, eager, quiet and just tried to stay focused. I expect this year to be the same but, most importantly, I want to have fun.

  Q: Do you have friends or running buddies you’ll be running with in this year’s marathon?

  A: Yes. I have other coworkers who are running.

  Q: How many miles do you do in an average year?

  A: A lot!!

  Q: Do you do other marathon races besides Boston? Or, is this your first marathon? And will you run in others this year?

  A: I have run numerous “halfs” in the past and plan on doing at least one more this year. As far as marathons go, this will most likely be the only one I do this year but not my last. I will run marathons in other cities for sure.

  Q: How do you prepare mentally and physically for this event?

  A: There is a lot to it. It is not easy and for me: The running definitely wears on me after a period of time. I have a great support system at home; my wife is constantly encouraging me and always trying to help me keep my mind right and focused when I have those bad days. I allow myself to have down days to rest and recover because I know if I am not feeling right physically or mentally it can only hurt me. I not only run but I go to the gym as well with other cardio equipment and weights. I love to go on walks as well to help further stretch out my legs.

  Q: Any special meal regimen you do before the race? Like carbo loading?

  A: Drink a ton of water as well as a lot of fruit, salad and pasta. Also spend a lot of time stretching and some walking.

  Q: How many pairs of shoes do you go through during the course of a year?

  A: At least two.

  Q: Do you have any personal connection to the Boston Marathon bombings? Like, lost a friend or relative?

  A: No.

  Q: What cause will you be running for this year? If you are running for a charity.

  A: I am running for the Herren Project this year. This charity focuses on recovery and treatment for families and individuals who have struggled with substance abuse. I have substance abuse within my family, so I hold this charity very close to my heart.

  Q: What’s your fondest Boston Marathon memory? That would be as an observer.

  A: I always just watched it on TV and was so inspired by the entire event and runners from all over the world.

  Q: How long will you keep running this race?

  A: This year will not be my last.

  Q: After running a Boston Marathon, what will you do the next day?

  A: REST. Stretch, eat what I want and definitely walk!

  Q: Have any friends or family members run this race before?

  A: Yes.

  Q: Anything else that you would like to share about this experience?

  A: To be able to say you have run the Boston Marathon is definitely one of my most proud moments I will always cherish and never take it for granted! It is not easy – the whole training process – but I do it because I truly love to run, and running the Boston Marathon is an incredible achievement. I highly recommend it!!

Five cops running for charity-2
Five cops running for charity at the Saugus Police Department, pictured from left to right, and their respective causes for running: Sgt. Stephen Rappa, the Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund; Lt. Anthony LoPresti, Tedy Bruschi’s Charity Team; Detective Stacey Forni, the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation; Officer Alison Cooper, the Herren Project; and Officer Brett DiPanfilo, the TB12 Foundation. (Saugus Advocate photo by Mark E. Vogler)
Officer Cooper is ready
Officer Alison Cooper is ready to run in her second consecutive Boston Marathon on Patriots’ Day, April 17. (Saugus Advocate photo by Mark E. Vogler)
Saugus Patrolman Alison Cooper
Saugus Patrolman Alison Cooper (center), wearing a Boston Marathon Finisher’s Medal around her neck, enjoyed a moment with friends who cheered her on to completion of her first Boston Marathon last year. She ran for the Fearless 261 Team, which inspires, motivates and educates women to become leaders. Pictured from left to right are Shelagh O’Connell (BMS Teacher), Gina Vozzella (Saugus Police 911 Dispatcher), Officer Cooper, Saugus Police Detective Stacey Forni and Saugus Police Officer Jenna Fennelly. (This photo appeared on the Saugus Police Department Facebook Page)

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