Meet the Participants: Hannah Foster

What is your boxing nickname?

Hannah Barbarian

What music are you going to play as you enter the ring?

Out of Our Heads - The Dropkick Murphys

What inspired you to take part in this year's event?

When it comes down to it, there are three things you need to win a fight: 1) you need to know how to fight, 2) you need your corner, and 3) you must have heart. This is true not only for boxing, but for any fight, including one of the most deadly fights a person can face: cancer. Like many of you, I have watched amazing, strong people—kids, adults, athletes, musicians, academics—fight for their lives against cancer. Incredibly, I have seen some win the fight, thanks to their courageous and tenacious spirits, capable doctors and others in their corner, and decades of research. And I have seen some lose the fight in spite of all of those things. In order to help those battling cancer and avoid such tragic loss of life, we need a better understanding of our opponent. We need to search for its weaknesses—the tiny vulnerabilities that will allow us to make the final blow. Unfortunately, this information comes at a high price. Having spent a year researching melanoma myself, I know how costly research is and how much work it takes to gain the smallest nugget of information. But that nugget could be the key that leads to a new treatment that means one more person beats cancer. That is priceless. That is why I am here: to be a cornerman in the fight against cancer. 

What has been the toughest part of your training so far?

For me, the toughest part of anything is slogging through frustration and defeat, but this is even more true for boxing. The bottom line is that in boxing, there are times when you just get beat up. Losing in most other sports means disappointment. Losing in boxing means physical punishment AND disappointment. It's hard to get back up when you feel like you've been ground into the mat. But as much as the pain is painful, the success is exhilarating. There is nothing like the feeling when something clicks and all of a sudden, you are a boxer. It is beyond worth the frustration. 

What has been the most enjoyable part of training so far?

Two things, really: I love learning and mastering the art of boxing. It is amazing to see how far I've come from not knowing how to throw a jab. I also love the people I work with at Redline: my coach, the other women with whom I spar, the guys who give me tips and advice. 

Have any of your preconceptions about boxing have been changed since you started training?

Absolutely. 1) I never would have guessed that I'd even like boxing, nonetheless fall in love with it. 2) The people I've met through the sport are all incredible, gentle, kind, smart people. I sort of expected a lot of testosterone-driven men and a few women with aggression problems. 3) Boxing is not just people beating up on each other. Boxing is an art, a dance. It takes true skill. It takes courage and heart. It takes instinct. It takes physical and mental endurance. It pushes you to your limits and then asks more of you. It requires everything.

What is your greatest sporting achievement to date?

Learning to box, by far. I've gone to Nationals with Ultimate Frisbee teams in college, I've run marathons, I've done lots of yoga...But nothing is as physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging as boxing is. That is part of the reason I love it.