Boston Marathon runner raising funds to fight cancer

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Lori Bartlett is set to run the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18, as part of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s fundraising team. FILE PHOTO

BAR HARBOR — Lori Bartlett, a Bar Harbor public safety dispatcher, was at mile 23 of the Boston Marathon three years ago when her first time running the race was interrupted by the bombing at the finish line.

Bartlett remembers being separated from her husband and daughter – who had come to cheer her on – for 51 minutes after she learned the news mid-race on April 15, 2013.

“It was just a surreal experience. I never thought that I would ever go back to running,” Bartlett declared. That feeling of fear, she said, lasted a week and was soon replaced by anger. “I’m not going to not continue, I won’t stop running.”

Not only has Bartlett returned for the historic race every year since, she runs as part of the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC), a fundraising arm of the Boston cancer institute, upping her goal each time.

She has raised more than $7,500 towards this year’s $12,500 goal.

Bartlett signed up with the DFMC to honor the memory of her grandfather who suffered from colon cancer. “Every year, it just seems like I know more people who become affected by it, and the reason I run is for the people who have it,” she said. “So each year I run, it means more and more to me.”

In the past years, she has decorated her racing singlet with the names of family and friends affected by cancer. “This is my way of contributing,” Bartlett explained. “It’s my way of feeling like I’m doing something helpful.”

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Lori Bartlett’s blue-and-yellow racing singlet will have the wedding rings of her late friend Betty and Betty’s husband, Peter Liscomb, sewn on it. PHOTO COURTESY OF LORI BARTLETT

However, on April 18, her blue-and-yellow singlet and her 26.2-mile run will be for her friend, the late Elizabeth “Betty” Liscomb, who passed away in February from ovarian cancer. “She was a fighter, and she wanted to beat it above all else,” she said.

Not only has she dedicated this year’s race and her fundraising efforts to her friend, Bartlett also will sew the wedding rings of Betty and her husband, Peter Liscomb, onto her singlet.

“That way I will be thinking of her the entire way. It’s an honor,” she said. “For me to run those 26 miles is nothing compared to what she was going through and what other people are going through to fight cancer.”

Bartlett has been spurred on in her fundraising campaign by her family and the community she has built through social media.

“I post a lot about the runs on Facebook, and it’s primarily through those friends that I’ve received the donations.”

Bartlett began training last December and looks up to area resident and runner Aaron Long for guidance. Long, she said, has helped design weekly training guides, shared coaching advice and motivated her to remain positive.

Another community that she gathers support from is the hundreds of DMFC runners who she said encourage one another. “Even if I was an elite runner and was paid to go run that marathon, I would still fundraise for Dana-Farber,” she declared. “I wouldn’t do it any other way.”


Amanat Khullar

Amanat Khullar

Amanat Khullar is a sports reporter for the Mount Desert Islander. She comes from New Delhi, the capital city of India and graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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