Monday, June 1, 2020

It's my Race-iversary!

Twelve years ago today, I toed the starting line of my first race - the Corrib Pub 5K. I had no idea what to expect. I had only begun running in April under the guidance of my personal trainer, Janine Hightower. I set an ambitious first goal for my running career: to run the 2009 Boston Marathon.

From "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":

Corrib Pub Run June 1, 2008

It was a hot and humid day. I had incredible butterflies not knowing what to expect from my first 5K. It was a friendly neighborhood race that accepted all paces. Proceeds from the race benefited neighborhood charities. Before the race we stood next to a couple and struck up a conversation. I learned that it’s a common practice to strike up conversations with strangers at a road race. They were inspired by my story and wished us well as we parted ways at the starting line. I had to pinch myself to realize I, Mary McManus, aka “Easy Out Alper” was toeing the starting line for a road race.

As we ran through the streets of West Roxbury, Tom shouted, “First road race ever. She's a polio survivor!”

People cheered and I ran through the hoses that people sprayed the runners with to keep us cool. I experienced a sense of play and freedom that I’d never known before in my life. Each step was a challenge for me especially the last long hill. I hadn't run for more than 40 continuous minutes in my training program. I had only been running outside since late April. But it didn't matter. I was on the road to the Boston Marathon and this was my first time being cheered rather than jeered as I ran. I had to stop and walk after 40 minutes but once I approached the finisher’s chute, Tom and I held hands sprinting together across my first finish line!

It took me just under an hour to finish the race.

There were still plenty of burgers, beers and fruit on the field when we finished despite my slow pace. Some of the people I met pre-race were there to greet me on the field.

It was my first introduction to the wonderful community of people who are runners.

When we returned to the car, Tom took this picture:

Running the Corrib Pub 5K became a tradition for many years.

One year Margo and Julie Feeney wanted to join me to celebrate my race-i-versary. They did not care about my slow time and Margo was quick to say that you really get to enjoy a race from the back of the pack.

We met the Fabulous Feeney sisters when they were running the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab.

I've been blessed to run many miles through many race courses and made friendships to last a lifetime during these past 12 years.

My most cherished memory of any race was that first race on June 1, 2008 when I began the journey from a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma to a woman transformed through the sport of running.

Be sure to visit my website at to learn more about my journey of transformation.

My books are available on Amazon

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness


  1. Congratulations on your anniversary Mary. I have just shared your previous post on my Facebook & Twitter. Katie x

    1. Thank you so much Katie! Great to be connected across the Pond and sharing how glorious it is to be running young over 50!