For Taylor Chin and Ben Westlake, the relationship has grown beyond the race. WBZ-TV's Kate Merrill reports.
- Since the first charity runners in 1989, fundraising teams have been an important part of the Boston Marathon, and they'll be back on the road this fall.
- They aren't the elite runners, just people who want to give back. And WBZ's Kate Merrill found uniting for a common goal creates lasting bonds.
- Ben, how long have you been playing for?
KATE MERRILL: Taylor Chin and Ben Westlake first met five years ago.
BEN WESTLAKE: We're raising money to help the kids to feel better.
KATE MERRILL: That's when seven-year-old Ben became Taylor's patient partner for the Boston Marathon. Taylor was a Wesleyan College soccer player and never run a marathon before. Ben was a patient at Children's Hospital in Boston, and the two bonded immediately over the very challenging two-mile marathon.
BEN WESTLAKE: It's pretty hard if you're just beginning because it's a two mile run.
KATE MERRILL: Two mile run?
BEN WESTLAKE: Mhm.
KATE MERRILL: 26 mile run.
BEN WESTLAKE: No, it's a two mile.
KATE MERRILL: Oh, it's a two mile run?
BEN WESTLAKE: Yeah.
KATE MERRILL: Tell me how you're doing.
BEN WESTLAKE: Bored now and then because of COVID.
TAYLOR CHIN: I'm doing well.
KATE MERRILL: Now five years later Ben is in middle school. Taylor is graduated and working in New York City, and that relationship has grown well beyond the race.
TAYLOR CHIN: We've built a really special bond both with between Ben and I and Ben's family and you know, anticipate being a part of each other's lives for a long time.
BEN WESTLAKE: It's still going good. We both enjoy sports like soccer.
KATE MERRILL: And Ben has not stopped giving back to Children's Hospital including a fundraising dinner in Pittsfield. How does that make you feel, Ben, to help out like that, to continue to help out?
BEN WESTLAKE: It feels really good because I like-- Like, it's a good feeling helping other people.
KATE MERRILL: And this marathon partnership is not over yet.
BEN WESTLAKE: So I think in 2027 I'll be able to run my first marathon with him, and hopefully by then I'll have my own patient partner too.
KATE MERRILL: Why do you want to do that, Ben?
BEN WESTLAKE: Well because I like raising money for kids that like me that need help.
TAYLOR CHIN: I think it's super cool and something I'm really proud of Ben for. And it's the exact same reason that I, you know, got involved in the first place.
KATE MERRILL: And as for the length of the Boston Marathon, Ben is making a correction for both of us.
BEN WESTLAKE: It's 26.2.
KATE MERRILL: [LAUGHING] Yes. Yes, you're right. That's a lot harder than two miles, although I'm sure Taylor would rather prefer it was two miles.
BEN WESTLAKE: And I'm pretty sure you did say it was 26 miles.
KATE MERRILL: Oh, so I wrong too.
BEN WESTLAKE: Yeah we were both wrong.
KATE MERRILL: We were both wrong.
- Taylor and Ben, two awesome [INAUDIBLE]