About Onward Shay

Onward Shay!
Oct 28, 2018

A Boise Marathon

Onward Shay! is a Boston-qualifying marathon which weaves through the scenic neighborhoods of beautiful Boise, Idaho. This fast, flat course is guaranteed fun for runners of any level. Check out last year’s footage of the half & full marathon. The Wizard of Oz theme paired with the great course guarantees that runners of any level will have fun! This year, we’re also introducing a 5K and a 10K!


Our mission is to honor our dear friend, Shay Hirsch, and everything she stood for, through a fun-filled event that is dedicated to contributing to non-profit organizations.

Onward Shay! Boise Marathon brings together runners from all over the nation. This Boise-based 5K, 10K, half and full marathon uses themes from Shay’s favorite book, the Wizard of Oz, incorporating themes of courage, heart, and bravery, also things Shay possessed during her battle with cancer.

This Boston-qualifier attracts thousands of runners from all over the world thanks to it’s fast, flat course, beautiful location, runner-friendly weather, and great cause.


In early 2014, running lost a dear friend to her 11-year battle with cancer. Shay Hirsch was born June 8, 1947, and raised in Boise. A grandmother, mother and loving wife, Shay brought joy into the hearts of everyone she met. The strength to overcome great struggles learned during her time as a marathon runner helped Shay face her diagnosis and ensuing battled with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, with dignity. Throughout her battle, Shay wrote to her friends of the struggles she faced, never for pity and always with a seemingly impossible amount of courage. Every uplifting email she wrote to friends following her progression ended with, “Onward! Love, Shay ”; thus, the name of our race.

To honor the memory of Shay Hirsch, wife of George Hirsch, her dear friends Betsy Luce and Jan Bastian decided to organize a marathon so the things that she stood for would live on. Within a year of Shay’s passing, these friends were on their way to New York City to meet with George and the New York Road Runners officials. The NYRR board proceeded to provide overwhelming support for Onward Shay!, but they also made apparent the tremendous task facing these two friends.

Leaving the NYRR boardroom, Betsy and Jan looked at each other with a mutual understanding of the challenge they were facing. They knew there was no turning back, taking a lesson from their friend Shay, they would face this challenge with optimism and strength. With the love and support of Shay and George’s friends and family, they set forth to make an event worthy of Shay’s memory.


The Onward Shay 5K, 10K, Half & Full Marathon is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) with 100% of our net proceeds committed to community service projects and charities. We are proud to partner with the following amazing organizations. We hope that you will join us in supporting these worthy causes.

Gold Partners

Silver Partners

Emerald Partners

Ruby Partners

Poppy Partners
Idaho Urologic Institute
Boise Rescue Mission
Dan Moss, Arrowhead Potato
Brian Jones, Sun Valley Potato
Mike Machurek, Industrial Ventilation Inc.