Boston Marathon

Man Who Faced Death in 2016 Is Hoping to Inspire Others By Running Boston Marathon

Quan Pho counts every step in life as a blessing after a heart attack nearly cost him his life in 2016

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The long-awaited road to the Boston Marathon is coming to a close as racers reveled in the final moments Sunday before taking to the course Monday morning.

“Boston is just thee marathon. If you say the word 'marathon,' there’s only one word that comes to mind: Boston," one woman said at the finish line Sunday. "For anybody who wants to do 26.2 miles, their goal is always Boston. I am so happy, so honored to be here."



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Among those in the crowd Sunday was Quan Pho. He will be one of more than 28,000 people running on Marathon Monday and says he counts every step in life as a blessing after coming face to face with death in 2016.

“Came home from work, spent time with the family. We had dinner. Put the kids to bed. Sat down and had a heart attack,” he recalled of the medical emergency that nearly cost him his life.

Adrianne Haslet survived the Boston bombing in 2013, was hit by a car in 2019 , and is now running the 126th Boston Marathon with elite marathoner Shalane Flanagan by her side. The pair is running in a new division Haslet fought to create and the duo hopes to make history.

“As I called 911, I'm falling backward and I actually died in my office. For a minute, I was dead," Pho added. "EMS had to come in through my door and shock me back to life.”

The health care professional now has a new lease on life after coming so close to losing it.

“You start withdrawing. You become fearful of life. Then comes a time you have to realize and wake up, I've gotta find purpose. My purpose is my family. My purpose is to give.”

Giving inspiration to others is what's leading Pho to run his first Boston Marathon -- with guided perspective and purpose.

“It’s about giving. Giving of yourself to help others. So that they can fulfill their purpose. In doing so, you can inspire so much more.”

For Pho, it really is about so much more than crossing the finish line on Monday -- though that is one of his goals.

"I really appreciate the opportunity to share my story and I hope it inspires others," he said in a text message to NBC10 Boston Sunday night.

Pho is one of countless inspiring stories in the marathon field, and he says he cannot wait until Monday.

While many of the world's elite marathon runners are Black men and women from Africa, the Boston Athletic Association is looking to make the non-elite athletes more diverse.
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