Boston Marathon

Runner Trains for First Boston Marathon, With Baby Boy's Struggles as Inspiration

Training hasn’t gone quite as planned, but Sarah Mannion is no stranger to life taking on a course of its own.

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Boston 2020 is Sarah Mannion’s first Boston Marathon -- and first race ever.

Training hasn’t gone quite as planned, but Sarah is no stranger to life taking on a course of its own.

It’s something she experienced while pregnant with her youngest son, Beau, who she found out at 20 weeks would be born with a bilateral cleft lip and pallet.

Unrelated to that, Mannion said, he was born underdeveloped lungs.

"He was on a breathing tube and rushed to the NICU. He actually coded and had to be brought back in the OR," she said.

Sarah Mannion with her children
Family photos
Sarah Mannion with her children

Beau has overcome several health obstacles and is now a 16-month-old, vibrant little boy.

He is also Sarah’s inspiration for taking on the 26.2 miles to raise money for Mass General Hospital.

"I actually got accepted to the MGH team the day after his first surgery at his bedside while he was at the hospital and I just burst into tears," Mannion recalled.

The Boston Marathon raises tens of millions of dollars each year for charities. Last year, the B.A.A. set a fundraising record. This year is different. Runners dropped out, some charities might not get money that they need.

Training alone, without her teammates and at times in the heat and humidity, has been a challenge for Mannion.

But she says her running journey couldn’t have come at a better time in her life.

"Running kind of gave me that strength to keep pushing through," Mannion said. "'Just run through it,' they say. 'Run through your problems,' and it’s so true."

It’s not the finish line she had imagined, but just crossing it, knowing her biggest fans are cheering her on at home, is all that matters.

"I was like, 'I’m going to do this,'" Mannion said. "I’m going to do this for Beau and I’m going to try to raise awareness and give back to this hospital that brought my son back and has since given him life."

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