It was professor Maira Marques Samary’s goal to one day run the Boston Marathon since she first started running, she said. Growing up in South America and living in Brazil, Samary said that the Boston Marathon is well-known everywhere in the world.
“I was living in Brazil, and people were saying, ‘Oh, but my dream is running the Boston Marathon,’” Samary said. “So I had the goal of one time in my life running the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon is like the Holy Grail of everyone that runs.”
When Samary arrived at Boston College in 2019 as a visiting assistant professor in the computer science department, she said she knew her chance to run the marathon had come.
Samary said that, at first, she tried to qualify for the marathon for two years, but she found it to be difficult. She could not keep up with the rigorous training schedule, she said, while trying to be a good professor and taking care of her two kids. That’s when Samary decided to take the fundraising route, she said.
Samary ran the 2022 Boston Marathon for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and said she faced some fundraising challenges because most of her friends and family are in South America. Despite the difficulty, Samary said she achieved her goal of $7,000, reaching it on the day of the actual marathon.
During the actual race, Samary faced another difficulty—a nosebleed. Samary said that she is prone to nosebleeds, but medics stopped her at a Boston Marathon medical tent right before Heartbreak Hill. They were not going to allow her to continue running, she said, but once she convinced them that she regularly gets nose bleeds, they let her continue the race.
Though she almost gave up on the marathon, Samary said when she reached BC, it gave her the strength to keep on running.
“I saw a lot of other students at my side, and I never gave so many high fives in my whole life,” Samary said. “I was thrilled by seeing my students, energized [by] it … and then it was what really made me really go, and it was amazing.”