Why We Run: making a selfish sport, selfless

BAR HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- In the cold weather and quiet winter of Bar Harbor, there has been a woman in a neon jacket and dirty hat running in the icy weather. Lori Bartlett has been running up and down the icy hills, turning a "selfish" sport into a selfless one.

When Bartlett was a junior in high school when doctors diagnosed her grandfather with colon cancer. Bartlett was a "grandpa's girl," describing him as the best man she knew. Her grandfather had put off going to the doctor because his thought he symptoms were embarrassing.

"If you can help that next person not have to suffer like that, that family not have to suffer like that to see their loved one suffer...isn't that what we should be doing?" asked Bartlett.

Bartlett has taken that sentiment to the street, deciding to run for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

"Being able to run for Dana Farber makes me feel a little bit as good as he was...like I'm doing something good for a reason," said Bartlett.

While training this year, the memories of last year's marathon have been in Bartlett's head. She was running for Dana Farber, wearing her dirty and sweaty baseball hat.

"It was a great day, it was a beautiful day, and people were super happy," she said.

Those feelings of excitement and joy all faded away when Lori got to mile 22. Her headphones were firmly in her ears, a pulsing beat taking her to the finish line. She was completely focused on was getting to Boylston Street. Then a stranger she was running next to started talking to her.

"And he said, 'no, there was an explosion.' And I stopped and I said, 'were people hurt?' and he said, 'yes,'" said Bartlett.

The image of Bartlett's family flashed in her head. Her husband and daughter had tickets to be in the bleachers at the finish line, right next to the location the bombs exploded. She described it as one of the worst moments of her life. She tried to run further and faster, her body full of panic.

"All that you know is that there was explosions and people were hurt, and I knew they were probably there," said Bartlett.

Fifty-one long minutes passed until Lori reunited with her family. After the hugs and the tears, there was anger. Bartlett was angry with the two men who caused so much hurt on what was supposed to be a day of celebration. But Bartlett decided not to let the anger stop her. She decided to run again, for the 2014 Marathon, not only for her grandfather, but also for freedom.

"What we should be standing for is freedom, and we fight for our freedom, and we fight for our country," said Bartlett.

This spirit has fueled all of the training miles. She thinks about it every time she ties up her laces and puts the dirty baseball hat on.


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