Running changed my life! I came to the sport quite by accident. As Dave McGillivray said in his book review of "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953," I am "a most unlikely runner:"
“A most unlikely runner stood to my right as I gave the oral command for the mobility impaired start of the 113th Boston Marathon on April 20, 2009. That most unlikely runner was Mary McManus. She overcame the childhood challenges of paralytic polio and years of childhood trauma to become a runner at the age of 53 years old and take on the challenge of the Boston Marathon at 55 years old. In “The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953” you’ll be inspired as I have been by her courage, resilience and determination to overcome whatever obstacles life put in her path. Mary’s life story set against the backdrop of running in “The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953” will leave you asking the question, “If Mary was able to accomplish all that in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds, what’s stopping me from being the best I can be?” Dave McGillivray Race Director – B.A.A. Boston Marathon
The other day on Facebook, Steve Jones
posted a challenge:
Every day I select a day from a life of running that has had an impact on me, or has been a memorable moment and post it without a single explanation (except for the above !!) I then nominate someone else to take up the challenge.
Be active, be positive, be passionate.....
Grow the sport!
I took on the challenge that took me back through my adventures as runnergirl 1953.
Day 1: Hyannis February 2016 Tom and I celebrating my 10K run on a glorious day in Hyannis, Massachusetts. I had suffered a serious knee injury in December of 2014. I was told to stop running or cap my distance at a 5K and prepare for a total knee replacement in a few years. My left knee had blown out after running 9 races in 9 months without any cross training; not smart! But I found my way to a chiropractor who prescribed a new strength training regimen for me (that I still use today and continue to challenge myself by up-leveling the workout), chiropractic care, KT tape and harnessing the power of the mind/body connection that had taken me out of a wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond. In January 2016, I ran the Bermuda Half Marathon, the longest distance since my Boston Marathon.
Day 2: A PR at the Bill Rodgers 5K to Benefit Prostate Cancer August 2014.
Day 3: Marathon Sports 5 Miler 2008 It was my first 5 mile road race on the road to the 2009 Boston Marathon. It was hot and an evening race and it was only my 2nd road race ever. I cried and I poured sweat and couldn't tell where the tears ended and the sweat began. I wanted to quit as memories of being "Easy Out Alper" and the taunting and teasing from my peers as I lugged a leg brace echoed in my ears. But Tom wouldn't let me quit and when I came across the finish line as the last runner of the race, I was celebrated as though I had been the one to break the finisher's tape.
Day 4: "Wait. I have one more goal," I proudly told my personal trainer Janine Hightower in February of 2008. When I first started working with her after being discharged from outpatient care at Spaulding Rehab, I could not pass the initial fitness test. She told me that I was way too young to not be able to get off of the sofa or a toilet seat by myself. I asked her if she thought I could get a little stronger and build on the program from Spaulding. "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right," she said quoting Henry Ford. She held enough faith for the two of us that I could get a little stronger but neither one of us could anticipate this moment coming into Cleveland Circle where our son Autumn waited for Team McManus (my husband, daughter and me) after Janine met us on Heartbreak Hill to run to the finish line with us. To this day I have no idea why Janine didn't turn tail and say, "That's not possible" when I told her my one more goal was to run the 2009 Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab.
Day 5: A photojournalism student from Boston University College of Communications asked Marathon Sports if they knew of anyone they could follow on Marathon Monday for their final project. They recommended Team McManus. We were blessed to have our journey from Hopkinton to Boston captured in photos. You can feel the joy I experienced coming into Kenmore Square knowing that the finish line was in sight. We raised $10,535 for Spaulding Rehab where I took the first tentative steps on my healing journey after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome.
To be continued....
To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours
Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com
Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link
My books are available on Amazon and "Feel the Heal" and "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953" are available in Natick Center Cultural District at Paula Romero Dunbar's Celebration Boutique Paper Fiesta coincidentally located on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon Route.