Melanie N. Powers, 34
I received my number from the BAA this year because I was not able to finish last year due to the bombings. However, because I ran for Mass Eye & Ear last year, I decided to take my number and join Mass Eye & Ear again to finish what I started last year with my team members and raise money for a fantastic hospital. My current marathon PR is 5 hours.
Adversity has always repeatedly shown up in my life, but the message I have learned has been incredible. The loss of my dad, my diagnosis with cancer, dealing with surgeries, personal life struggles, and the terrible events of the 2013 Boston Marathon have all taught me that it is not what happens to us, but it’s how we respond to what happens to us that is important. Strength, perseverance, resilience, passion — the same qualities that helped get me through life’s challenges have pushed me to run. Running for each and every person that is unable to is what got me into running and will forever help me train and complete marathons.
Why are you running the 2014 Boston Marathon?
I have survived cancer twice, most recently last summer. I was stopped last year at mile 25 due to the bombings, so I am more determined than ever to cross the finish line. I will cross this year for myself, the bombing victims, and for all cancer patients to encourage them to keep their head up, because illness cannot keep us down!
What part of the course/event are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to Heartbreak Hill! Most [people] say they dread this area of the course, but for me the crowds and motivation at this very spot, mile 19, give me the strength to know I can do this! Seeing everyone cheer you on and push you to make it to the top is the absolute best feeling.
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What does “Boston Strong” mean to you?
Boston Strong to me means standing together as one, never letting anyone take away our passion, determination and will to do what we love because of fear. We push on to show anyone trying to hurt us that we are stronger [than them], and we will come out on top.
Who is coming out to support you this year?
My mom, who has supported me though this every step of the way, my brother, and several friends. I will also have my dad’s picture on my bib — I do this for every marathon. Even though he may not be here physically, I have him with me for support and motivation.
What is your race-day goal?
My race-day goal is to finish in good health, cross that finish line with a smile, and to finally complete my ultimate dream — running and completing the most prestigious marathon!