Boston Marathon: 6 Inspirational Runners to Root for (VIDEO)

Rick HoytTomorrow brings my favorite sporting event of the year -- the Boston Marathon. In its 116th year, it's the pinnacle of running achievement for many. As a runner, I find it fascinating to watch the gaits, speed, and strength of the runners, and I imagine myself running alongside them someday. But it's also about so much more than that.

Each runner has a story as to why they've trekked to Boston for this event, and what it means to them. Some are there to improve their time or to check an item off of their bucket list; but for others it's fulfilling a deeper need. I always think the race is more fun to watch when there are familiar names and faces you're following. So besides a good friend of mine who's running it (go, Katie!), I've come up with a list of six other runners who's inspirational stories I've come across that I'll be trying to follow and rooting for as well. Most are names you've never heard of before, but their stories will inspire all.

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1. Jennifer Sheridan

Like many, the Marblehead, Mass. resident is running in honor of a loved ones whom they have lost. Sadly, according to a story on Boston.com, Sheridan, 40, has lost not one, but three of her four siblings to cancer in the past four years. She will be running the Boston marathon for the fourth time this year to raise awareness and remember them. She says of running, “It’s an intangible pleasantness in a situation that is inherently awful.’’

2. Sean Swarner

The fact that he has only one functioning lung and is going to run would be amazing enough, but Swarner has also survived cancer twice. According to a story in the Huffington Post, he is also an incredibly accomplished mountain climber, and was the first cancer survivor to scale Mt. Everest. "I think I had two choices. It was either to fight for my life or give up and die, and I just don't think I was ready to give up," he told WTNH.

3. David Kuhn

After being hit by a drunk driver in 1981, he lost his eye sight, but has never let his blindness get in the way of his running. This year, with assistance of a guide, the 58-year-old will run Boston for the first time.

He told lohud.com:

In my wildest dreams, I wouldn’t have thought that I would have been able to do it. This is the big one for me. This is the one that I tell people I want to do so that I have a story when I get into the old folks home.

4. and 5. Dick and Rick Hoyt

They are veterans of the marathon, and this year will be the 30th time they complete the marathon. Still, the image of Dick, 72, pushing his son, Rick, who is a quadriplegic, across the finish line never fails to inspire and bring tears to everyone watching. Any excuses as to why you can't exercise really get thrown out the window when you see this amazing duo in action.

6. Geoffrey Mutai

All eyes will be on the Kenyan after he ran the marathon last year in 2:03:02 -- the fastest time ever. If he can beat that time, it will be insane. I'd normally root for someone new to win, but his story of determination is so amazing, I'd love to see him do it again.

Do you know anyone running the Boston Marathon? Who will you be rooting for?


Image via YouTube

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