It Took 13 Hours To Run The Boston Marathon. She Couldn’t Be Happier About Coming In Last.

"I just burst into tears, I just couldn’t believe it."

A little over halfway into the 2018 Boston Marathon, Mary Shertenlieb wasn't sure she would be able to finish the full 26.2 miles. The cold and rainy day was taking a lot out of her, which makes sense given the fact that Shertenlieb is a three-time cancer survivor. That said, this ever-determined woman kept on pushing.


For the past five years, the 42-year-old has gone through numerous rounds of chemotherapy and even a bone marrow transplant in a fight against leukemia. Shertenlieb was running for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a cancer hospital in Boston where she was a patient, and, at this point, has raised more than $40,000 for it, much more than her initial goal. This was the first marathon for the mother of two.

During the course, Shertenlieb found herself resting up and warming up with coffee at a Dunkin' Donuts. Though doctors had given her their "blessing" to run, it was with a caveat that she would stop if it all became too much. Rich Shertenlieb, her husband and radio host of 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show, came by and had an idea: she would go home, shower, change clothes, have dinner, and then go back out and finish the marathon — but do it together.

"We're high school sweethearts," Shertenlieb told "We've gone through a lot together with all this cancer stuff, and he continues to amaze me every day by how supportive he is."

So the couple set forth to conquer the Boston Marathon, which had started at about 11:15 a.m. on Monday, and, with friends showing up along the way to cheer her on and offer support, they finally got to the finish line at 12:18 a.m. Tuesday, a full 13 hours later.

"I told myself, no matter what, I'm running down Boylston [Street]," Shertenlieb said. "I don't care how wrecked I feel, I'm turning that corner and running. And we ran down Boylston and, as we got closer, I could hear people screaming and I could see that people were actually still there."

"I just burst into tears, I just couldn't believe it. And I asked somebody, 'Am I truly the last person to cross the finish line?' and they said, 'Yeah, you are.' But I couldn't have done it without my friends and family just really helping out," Shertenlieb added. "If somebody told me I was going to finish the marathon last and that I would be happy about it, I wouldn't have believed you."

Shertenlieb isn't quite sure if she will run the Boston Marathon again, but it is her desire to at least volunteer in the future. Either way, she shows that finishing last can sometimes mean a whole lot more than finishing first.



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