Runner Stories

Lisa Burdick

My youngest son was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and I took up running again with the goal of running the Boston Marathon to raise money for pediatric cancer research. As part of my training, I signed up for this race. It was the first road race I had run in 20 years. I fell in love. As long as I am still able to move, I will be on Boston Common on race day ready to run. The race isn’t really about going fast, I haven’t gotten much better at it over the years, but it is about being there. I love the camaraderie. I love how those further back in the pack cheer on the lead runners when they go by. I love how we double back and can see those ahead of us and those behind us and how we all cheer for each other. I love the announcer calling out encouragement to finishers as they cross the line. Every 6 years, give or take, race day falls on my birthday. Running it is my yearly birthday present to myself.

My son has endured 4 separate courses of chemotherapy. The goal was always to delay radiation treatment as long as possible so that side effects from radiation would be less severe. This summer we finally progressed to proton beam radiation. For every round of chemo, I have run the Boston Marathon to raise money. I ran it for the 5th time in 2017. Alas, I suffered a stress fracture – diagnosed post-race. I spent the summer in an air cast taking my son to daily radiation treatments. Not even a stress fracture will keep me from this race.