Boston Marathon

Why I’m Running: Joe LeBlanc is running Boston to honor his late brother

"Johnny wasn't a runner (he'd think we're nuts for running that far), but he loved Marathon Monday."

Joe LeBlanc. Courtesy

In our “Why I’m Running” series, Boston Marathon runners share what’s inspiring them to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston on April 16, 2018. Are you running Boston? Here’s how to share your story on

Name: Joe LeBlanc
Age: 44
From: Malden
Bib #: 25380

I’m running the Boston Marathon as part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, raising money in honor of my brother John. He died in 2000 from melanoma, and I hope that by funding the researchers at [Dana-Farber Cancer Institute], I can help others avoid losing their loved ones.

This is the sixth time (my second) that a family member has run in Johnny’s honor, and we will soon surpass the $100,000 milestone in money raised.

Johnny wasn’t a runner (he’d think we’re nuts for running that far), but he loved Marathon Monday. What’s not to love? It’s a day when thousands of people blow off work, start drinking in the morning, watch a baseball game in the afternoon, then catch the end of the world’s best marathon.


Despite the obscenely early time the first drafts are poured that day, and despite the vast quantities of those drafts, the crowd in Kenmore Square always seems so positive. As the back-of-the-pack runners stagger towards the finish line, those same people who were packed into the Cask ‘n Flagon at 9 a.m. are cheering, high-fiving, and otherwise encouraging them on.

This spirit reminds me of my brother, and that’s why when I cross the bridge and head into Kenmore Square, I’ll be grinning ear-to-ear at the half-drunk guy with the Pedroia jersey telling me, “YOU’RE ALMOST THERE! YOU GOT THIS!”


Check out our entire “Why I’m Running” series.


Editor’s note: Entries may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.