My Boston Marathon Story: Katie Crowell

Breast cancer couldn't keep her from the starting line.

Each of the 30,000 people running the 2017 Boston Marathon has a unique story. In this mini-series, we’ll bring some of them to light.


Katie Crowell / Photo provided

Katie Crowell

Age: 36
Location: Milton
Previous Boston Marathon Appearances: 6

Her Marathon Story:

Katie Crowell started running in her teens, and has been on the move ever since.

“I’m not naturally built as one of those lean runners, so it was work to build up to it,” Crowell says. “But I got into distance running pretty early on.”

That passion brought her to the Boston Marathon, which she ran each year from 2006 to 2010. She took a hiatus in 2011, the year her first child was born, but came back in 2012.

In 2015, as she was gearing up to run what would have been her seventh Boston Marathon, Crowell discovered—while 32 weeks pregnant—that she had breast cancer. After 21 months of treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Crowell is ready to go the distance again, this time as part of Dana-Farber’s Marathon Challenge Team.

“I’ve always tried to be a person who helps out others when they can, whether it be in time, money, donating clothes, whatever it may be,” Crowell says. “This is definitely more personal this time, so it’s definitely to give back to the cause.”

Crowell says the itch to start running again came almost immediately after her diagnosis, even while she was undergoing weekly chemotherapy infusions. As soon as she was cleared to run, a month after giving birth, Crowell started pounding the pavement.

“It’s hard at first. Coming back after a baby is hard enough—you’re not quite at your fittest level, you’re a little heavier.” Crowell says, “And then coming back after having a baby while trying to receive chemotherapy…I always said it was a little humiliating, a little keeps-you-in-check. [But] eventually, your body remembers and it gets back to it.”

Now on maintenance medications, Crowell is keeping her fingers crossed and looking ahead to race day. She hopes she can post a time of 4:20 or faster, though she says it’s really about getting back out there and hitting her fundraising goal of $13,100—a nod to the number of miles in a half marathon.

“Honestly just to finish and feel good is always my goal,” Crowell says. “I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time, so to really just enjoy it.”

To donate to Crowell’s fundraiser, click here.


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