Runners Take Many Different And Inspirational Paths

HARTFORD – Every runner has a story.

Here are some from Saturday's ING Hartford Marathon:

Justin Ordway of Southbury is 10 years old. He runs once a week with a group from his travel soccer team, but he also plays travel basketball and baseball, so he gets plenty of running in.

Saturday, he finished the 5K in 27:17. His mom, Monica, and dad, Matt, ran with him.

Ordway ran to raise money for Camp Rising Sun, which he called "one of the best things in his life." He went to the camp, run by the American Cancer Society, after he was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), a rare cancerlike disorder, at age 6.

Ordway went through a year of low-level chemotherapy and other treatments and is in remission.

"He's doing well," Monica said. "He's a top student academically and a very athletic boy. A lot of people in town really never realized he was going through anything. He kept participating in sports. He led a pretty normal life.

"He's gone to Camp Rising Sun since first grade, for the past four summers. It's been kind of a gift, in an odd kind of way, because of the relationships he's formed at this camp."

His counselor, Scott Capozza, nominated Justin for the marathon's Elite Inspiration Team. Justin and his family received perks normally reserved for elite runners, like a hotel room in Hartford the night before the race.

Justin raised $3,000 for the camp. He ran last year at Hartford, but said Saturday's race was easier. He beat his mom, a regular runner who has done marathons before, and his dad by a second.

"I think we crossed at the same time," he said.

In typical 10-year-old fashion, he didn't sprint to finish ahead of them?

"Oh, I did," he said. "But [they] caught up."

The Sub Wives (and Friends): Last year, 17 members of the crew of the USS Hartford submarine trained at sea and were back in dock in time to run various races at the Hartford Marathon.

This year, the USS Hartford was out to sea on marathon day. So the wives, relatives and friends of the crew decided they would participate in the races for them.

A group of 26 walked and ran Saturday — which, was, appropriately, the 237th birthday of the U.S. Navy — in the marathon, half-marathon and 5K. Meanwhile, the guys on the boat combined to run 26.2 miles on the treadmill in the torpedo room Saturday in honor of the marathon.

"I would say we probably had in the group maybe five avid runners," said Maureen Meredith of Gales Ferry, an avid runner whose husband is on the boat. "The rest, we just persuaded, twisted their arm a little bit. They were excited to support the boat."

Meredith, Ali Fischer of New London and Kate Sullivan of Groton ran the half-marathon.

"[The crew] did it last year and they had a really great time and they were treated really well by the ING Hartford Marathon people," Fischer said. "So why stop when they're deployed? We can do it just as easily as they can."

With their run, the group raised $3,500 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Brian's Run: Brian Boyle ran his fastest time in a marathon Saturday, 3:26.

That he is even alive to run a marathon is incredible.

Boyle, 26, of Welcome, Md., was in a car accident in 2004 in which his heart moved across his chest and his major organs were damaged. After 36 blood transfusions, many surgeries and lots of physical therapy, not only was Boyle able to walk again (which doctors said might not happen) but he was able to train for and complete the Ironman Triathlon in 2007.

Boyle, who ran his 10th marathon Saturday, runs for Team Red Cross now to show appreciation for blood donors and the Red Cross and to raise awareness about donating blood.

"It's a dream come true," Boyle said. "Just to start these races, to go out and be part of the atmosphere, is a phenomenal feeling. To run and finish, finish strong and do personal bests … that's why I love racing. It's my way of saying thank you to blood donors, to the Red Cross, my family, my friends."

Saturday was the fifth anniversary of his Hawaii Ironman race.

"I wanted to test my body," he said. "I felt so limited, so restricted throughout my recovery. I was Brian the Sick Boy. The Boy in the Wheelchair. Now it's Brian the Ironman."

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