Big Rapids Man Returns Home After First Boston Marathon

“I have not ran in the Boston Marathon, I’ve ran other marathons but I understand this is an unparalleled experience,” said Christopher Merendino.

He laced up his sneakers and hit the trail in Hemlock Park in Big Rapids starting in November.

“Started out with 3 and 4 mile runs and kind of accelerated it into February when it was the most intense and did a few half marathons at that time, 14 miles or so,” he said. “Then kind of tapered off so that hopefully the legs are fresh for the marathon — we’ll see.”

Training for a marathon during the Northern Michigan winter is an experience.

“I bundled up a lot, I got a lot of frost on my eyebrows and dealt with it especially because it’s going to be 50 degrees and raining for the marathon,” he said.

Getting him through the training — was the reason he’s running the marathon in the first place.

“I am not running the Boston Marathon for me, and I am certainly not running because I am one of the fastest people in the world,” said Merendino.

Chris has the honor of running the 2018 Boston Marathon for One Summit through the John Hancock Non-profit Marathon Program.

“One Summit is an organization dedicated to working with pediatric cancer patients to teach them resilience through experiential learning with Navy Seals and community engagement events and storytelling events,” he explained.

The Navy Seals are paired with a child or sibling of a child with cancer.

Chris is running the Boston Marathon for Amin.

“Amin sadly lost his sister, Selma, last year to cancer,” Merendino explained.

Chris says One Summit’s mission of resilience resonates in both Amin’s life and his own.

“When you’re in month 2 of training for the marathon and your body hurts and your knees hurt and you don’t feel like going running and it happens to be 2 degrees that day, you don’t really feel like running but you do anyway,” he said.

Running through the weather is a choice Chris says he makes because not everyone can make choices in their life.

“A child with cancer doesn’t have that choice, to simply run a marathon isn’t that extraordinary of a feat when you measure yourself against people that have that fight day in and day out,” Merendino said.

Chris will be reminded of his friend Amin and Amin’s family with every step of the way during the marathon.

“They’ll be waiting for me at the finish line hopefully not for too long,” he laughed.

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