Kendra Miller ran 26.2 miles this morning through the cold and rain.
“She had said she would never run any further than a half marathon, so when she signed up for a full, I think that’s an amazing feat on its own. I think it’s a great thing she did in memory of her mom,” said Theresa Addison, who ran the entire marathon with Kendra.
The run was a tribute to Miller’s mother, who died last year from Leukemia.
“Everything started with my mom getting cancer. Kendra started raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and it’s kinda just been — everybody has gotten behind her,” Chris Volk, Kendra’s brother, said.
It also marked the culmination of Miller’s year-long fundraising efforts that yielded more than $25,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.
“Majority of the $25,000 that I raised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society was just friends donating, and it being an important cause to me. They were just there for me,” Miller said.
Miller said she’s organized charitable running events before, but wanted to do something different for her mom.
“She had a relapse about a year and a half ago and she passed away, so I knew at that point my next fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society was going to be something big,” Miller said.
Flanked by friends and family, Kendra ran through the finish line — greeted with food, music and a special tribute song. But today’s run wouldn’t have happened exactly the same way without the cancellation of another race.
“All of a sudden I had the opportunity to apply for the Boston Marathon through the charity, and I got accepted. I just knew it needed to be big in her honor,” Miller said.
She was going to run the Boston Marathon in April as part of the the race’s charity program — but coronavirus caused the cancelation.
Many joined Miller for segments of the run, including neighbor Dan Glasser who ran alongside for three miles.
“I just feel bad that she wasn’t able to go to Boston and fulfill her dream of running for her mom and with her mom that she lost, so it was just the least I could do,” Glasser said.
While some might see the rain as a downside to the run, Kendra doesn’t.
“I say that these are tears of joy from heaven, the whole time,” Miller said.
After the race, Miller said she’s not sure she’d run a full marathon again but will continue to support the cause.