As a polio survivor, Mary McManus was a stranger to athletic endeavors. The taunts from childhood peers would haunt her throughout her life. She despised her body. With the gift of the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome in December 2006, Mary embarked on a journey of transformation mind, body and spirit. She discovered the healing power of self love and writing poetry. The first poem that she wrote in the dark night of her soul and body in February of 2007 was called, "Running the Race". The poem was a foreshadowing of her 2009 Boston Marathon run although she could barely walk at the time.
As she loved her body in its deconditioned state and worked with an angel of a physical therapist at Spaulding Rehab Hospital, she connected to her body for the first time in her life. After being discharged as a patient from Spaulding, Mary hired a personal trainer to see if she could 'get a little stronger.' She got a lot stronger! In February of 2008, when Mary's trainer asked her what her next health and fitness goals were, Mary said, "I want to dance. I want to feel free in my body. I want to walk outside." As Mary's trainer was about to leave, she said 'wait...I have one more goal ...I want to run the Boston Marathon as a charity runner for Spaulding Rehab Hospital."
With her husband and daughter by her side, Team McManus crossed the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon 7 hours and 49 minutes after they had taken their place at the starting line with the mobility and visually impaired runners. They raised $10,535 for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital where Mary took the first steps on her healing journey.
Writing poetry sustained Mary through the rigorous training through one of the coldest New England winters in history. Her poetic reflections on her Boston Marathon journey are included in "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life," available on Amazon.