Cancer Survivor Refuses To Quit Running Marathon in Freezing Temps, Finishes at 1 in the Morning


The iconic Boston Marathon held its 122nd race on Monday, April 16 and athletes from around the world gathered to run the 26.2 miles to Copley Square.

This year’s Boston Marathon brought some of the worst weather conditions runners had ever seen. “The temperature was a chilly 40 degrees with a wind chill of 29 degrees, and wind gusts reached 30 mph,” ABC News reported.

According to the Boston Globe, runners crossed the finish line shivering from the rain soaking their clothing and shoes.

“I could not tie my shoes my hands were so cold and wet,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said of the rainy race. “I asked a spectator to tie them.”

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But Mary Shertenlieb, along with many other runners, refused to give up. Shertenlieb is a three-time cancer survivor and ran the marathon in order to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“This race is so important to me, it’s so important to this city. It’s where I had my boys. This race is like something I’ve always dreamed of doing and I’m so thankful to everybody that donated money to Dana-Farber because that place saved my life,” she told CBS Boston station WBZ.

Shertenlieb battled the terrible weather for 15.5 miles before having to stop at a medical tent. She was shivering and thought she had hypothermia because of her purple lips.

“At that point, her body began to shiver uncontrollably, her lips turned purple, and because of her compromised immune system, her doctors instructed her to stop running in the rain should this happen,” her husband, Rich, posted on Twitter.

But Shertenlieb still didn’t want to give up. She took a break, changed into dry clothes, and waited for the rain to stop.

“We are now at the Dunkin Donuts in Wellesley where she stopped running at 4PM. We will now finish Mary’s journey to the finish line together. Let’s go,” her husband posted again.

The couple finished the remaining 10.7 miles together and crossed the infamous blue and yellow finish line holding hands.

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Thirteen hours after she started the marathon, Shertenleib finished her run at 12:18 a.m. and was the last person to complete the 2018 Boston Marathon.  She raised over $30,000 for Dana-Farber.

“You can do anything. It may not be how you imagined it playing out, but you can still get it done,” she said.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith