Editor’s note: Steve Hewitt and James Develin both run the Boston Marathon as charity runners for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation.
James Develin was on the injured reserve during 2019 when he started to have this crazy thought on his mind.
The Patriots fullback – all 6 -foot -3, 255 pounds on him – wants to run the Boston Marathon.
At the time, Develin and David Andrews were both in IR and woke up early to train at Edge Performance Systems in Foxboro. Develin turned to his teammate and one of the trainers at EPS to ask them what they thought was the possibility that he would run the iconic 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boylston Street.
They are not very convinced. Fullbacks are not exactly known for running marathons.
“You’re 255,” they told him. “That’s a lot of pounding in your joints.”
Develin made a mental note of that. Not drafted out of Brown, the fullback became a key member of the Patriots and a three-time Super Bowl champion. He used to be skeptical.
“I’ve always been driven by doubt in my football career,” Develin said.
After a career giving way for the Patriot runners, he took the lead. Develin, who retired from football in 2020, will finally take the itch on Monday, when he runs the historic Boston Marathon – the 125th stage, and first October – as he represents the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, the organization inspired by the former Offensive lineman of the Patriots who provides supports for cancer patients and their families throughout New England.
Develin has always been interested in running. When he was younger, he cross-trained in boxing, which laid the foundation for distance running. He won’t go the long miles like he has during marathon training and will do on Monday, but he loves it.
“I got a little bit of a thought out of it,” Develin said. “It’s all just about hugging the sucker, because nobody likes running, especially over a mile.”
It was actually in 2018 when the idea of running Boston first became a possibility for Develin. Former Patriot fan Ryan Wendell was in town with Andruzzi, and they were catching up in the weight room at Gillette Stadium when Wendell told him he was running the Boston Marathon, also for the Andruzzi foundation.
Develin was an inspiration. As a similarly constructed football player – a “batter ram man,” he described himself – it wasn’t really something he imagined.
“He was an offensive lineman so you don’t really think an o-lineman could put on 26.2, but he did it,” Develin said. “I just really admire that. … You not only associated big football players with running that distance, but he embraced the challenge and so I really respect that. It affected me. The fire
“I was like, ‘You know what, that’s going to be a really cool challenge to try to do after I finish playing.'”
Develin retired in April 2020 and continued to train and lift weights, but eventually became monotonous with no goals to reach, especially in the midst of a pandemic.
“I was just starting to think, I need to do something to spark things a little bit,” Develin said.
He ran on the run. A mile became two, eventually 10, and one Saturday morning, he woke up and ran a half marathon on his own. He loved the mental and physical challenge it provided.
When Develin saw the news earlier this year that the Boston Marathon had been pushed back from the traditional April to October 11 date, he reached out to Andruzzi about taking a seat with his Boston Marathon team. It was not long before he was hired.
Develin even said he surprised himself with training, which hasn’t been easy. Not only is he training for his first marathon, but he’s also moving this summer. And with four children, she needs to be creative in her time management. He even carried them on some of his shorter runs, with strollers and shoulder straps helping the cause.
“It’s really cool,” Develin said. “That’s the other thing, trying to set an example for them because that’s not in my comfort, But like I said before, just embracing the challenge and working every day trying to achieve this goal, is necessary. I can do it the right way for my children and set the example. ”
Develin has never been to the Boston Marathon, but as a grad grad and with the Patriots in eight seasons, he knows full well what that means. And he takes it seriously like any of the big championship games he played for the Patriots.
“It gave me a unique platform to be involved in something like this,” Develin said. “It’s really like a Super Bowl marathon, so I jumped at that opportunity. I was just hoping to be a part of it. It’s something I haven’t done, but why don’t you try to start at the top?”
To support the Mar Andruzzi Foundation Boston Marathon team, visit teamjaf.org.