Colorado woman runs Boston Marathon in honor of late husband

KUSA - The oldest marathon in the world was held without a hitch on Monday. After 26.2 miles, thousands of men and women ran down Boylston Street and became Boston Marathon finishers. Every runner has a story, including a woman from Elizabeth who in just under six hours on the course, ran the 2014 Boston Marathon out of pain and pride.

"This is my therapy right now, because I'm really good at sweeping things under the rug," says 57 year old Joanne Ott with a laugh.

Joanne spent a lot of time training for Boston, and a lot of time thinking.

"When I go running, I don't wear headphones or anything, so I do a lot of thinking. It is bringing back a lot of those feelings."

Feelings that stem from her first marriage.

"We got married on June 23rd 1984," says Joanne as she sifts through pictures at her kitchen table. "That was a fun day."

It's been almost 30 years since Joanne married Dana and their lives in the New England area included a plethora of activities like camping, hanging out on the beach, and running.

"This is the shirt he wore when we ran the Boston Marathon," as Joanne shows a picture of Dana wearing a black and pink tie die cotton shirt. "You've got to remember, it was 1990," she says with a big grin.

In 1989, Joanne and Dana decided they wanted to run Boston as bandits, which meant they weren't official participants. Instead they tagged along at the very end of the race.

"It's just a wonderful memory. I trained and trained and trained and he barely trained for it. He did it like it was nothing."

Dana was the epitome of health and quite the athlete who participated in numerous sports. However about a year and a half after Boston, and just a few days after he and his brother won a doubles tennis tournament, everything came to an abrupt halt.

"The doctor said it came on like a blast."

Joanne took her husband to the ER on a Saturday because he just wasn't feeling right.

"The doctor said we'd like to run some tests. They wheeled him off and he was gone for a little while. When they wheeled him back in they rushed right by me and said they were going to put him in a private room."

That night Dana was airlifted to another hospital and within 36 hours he passed away as a result of acute Myelogenous Leukemia. Joanne and everyone who knew her 30 year old husband were stunned.

"It was so much of a shock, and truth be told, I don't think I've ever really dealt with it all that well in all these years. This is my therapy."

Twenty-three years after losing her husband so suddenly, Joanne ran 26.2 miles in this year's Boston Marathon to give back. Not only by raising thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, but also to show she, like so many others, is Boston Strong.

"No matter what happens, whether it's the death of a husband or a bombing that takes place at a great event, we're pretty resilient. So, I hope that's something people can take (from this)."


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