BAR HARBOR — For Lori Bartlett, who will run the Boston Marathon for the fifth time on Monday, April 17, it’s not the time it takes to complete the race that matters.
“I have set goals for myself this year, but they don’t matter,” said the Bar Harbor resident and dispatcher with the town’s police and fire departments. “That’s not the point of why I run this marathon.”
For Bartlett, what matters is appreciating the fact that her body is able to complete a 26.2-mile race while cancer patients and their families have to undergo difficult treatments and emotions while fighting the disease.
Bartlett runs on the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Marathon Challenge team along with more than 500 others. The team’s goal this year is to raise $5 million for cancer research at the Boston hospital.
As of early this week, Bartlett had raised $5,525 of her $11,750 goal.
She initially joined the team in 2012 as a way into the race and in memory of her grandfather.
“My grandfather passed away from colon cancer, and it was horrific,” she said. “In every year, there are so many more people I run for, friends that have passed away or friends and family members of others who I know.”
Bartlett said the race is one way that she feels she can make a difference in the fight against the disease.
“Running is a singular sport,” she said. “It provides you with health benefits, with calm, with being able to be outdoors. But by running for Dana-Farber, it gives me a greater purpose for running the race beyond myself.”
Bartlett has run several marathons since her first, the MDI Marathon, in 2008. What inspires her to run Boston, one of the most storied contests in the country and a crowning achievement for any runner, is remembering what she is racing for.
“What gets me through Boston especially is knowing why I’m running,” she said. “I do it for the people who I have loved and people I care about whose family members have suffered from cancer.
“It’s just running. I’m not in pain. I’m not going through chemo, and I don’t have to deal with cancer. If they can deal with that, then I can certainly finish a race.”
Donations to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute can be made at rundfmc.org, by calling the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Office at 617-632-1970 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. One hundred percent of the funds raised goes towards the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research, which promotes scientific research in its earliest stages.
An earlier version of this story stated that Lori Bartlett would run 21.6 miles. She will run 26.2 miles, the length of the marathon.