Archives for September 2014

The story of Darby Stott

I haven’t really written about what it was like to run the Boston Marathon, but I wanted to share one story with you about a woman named Darby Stott.

I’m a slow runner (our running group in San Jose likes to call ourselves “a social group with a running problem”). So to make it to the Boston Marathon this year, I applied to the raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which helps patients with cancer and funds promising research to tackle cancer.

I don’t mind telling you that I was nervous about the Boston Marathon, even though I’d run several marathons before. Boston is the race that nearly every runner aspires to do. And running the Boston Marathon in 2014 felt especially important.

The night before the marathon, the DFMC (Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge) does a pasta party for hundreds of runners and their families. At the party, I heard a remarkable woman named Darby Stott who put my nervousness into perspective. If you’d like to watch her speech, it’s only about eight minutes long:

Darby talked about how she had wanted to run in the Boston Marathon this year after battling cancer herself. About three minutes into her remarks, she revealed that the cancer had spread throughout her body, meaning that she wouldn’t be able to run in the race after all.

Darby’s speech really hit home an important point: to be healthy enough to run 26.2 miles is a gift. Too often we forget that each day is a gift, and not one that everyone gets. I wasn’t nervous about the race after that–I was grateful. And whenever I started to feel tired during the Boston Marathon, I thought of Darby and I felt grateful again for the gift of running. A lot of people felt that way for this year’s Boston Marathon. They were running for Darby, or a family member, or a friend or loved one.

Darby Stott died yesterday.

There’s a quote by Alphonse de Lamartine: “Sometimes, only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated.” I didn’t know Darby other than from her speech, but the world seems more depopulated today without her. I hope her family will be okay, and I hope they know that Darby inspired hundreds of people.

I went for a run today for Darby. It’s a gift to run, and one that I’m grateful for. Then I donated to Dana-Farber for cancer research in Darby’s name, because she was a gift, and one that I’m grateful for.