Erika Conner is running Boston for her late friend Katie Winter

"I know she'll be with me crossing the finish line."


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 15, 2019. 

Name: Erika Conner
Age: 39
From: Livermore, California
Bib #: 25332

On June 27, 2018, I lost one of my closest friends, Katie Winter, who battled breast cancer for four years. She had chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, tests, blood drawings, hospital stays, and more. She refused to let cancer control her life, and she was determined that cancer would never win. And it didn’t. Because although she’s no longer here with us, she was so well loved, admired, and respected by so many people, and taught us all so much, that I am determined to ensure her name and story continue to be shared. Her two young daughters need to see that their mom’s story will be told and that the lessons she taught us all will be passed on. We will do whatever we can to end this horrible disease and together, we are all #TeamKatie.


Katie was my biggest supporter when it came to anything I did athletically. She would text me before every half marathon, check in after to see how I had done, ask to see photos, and often leave me care packages before big events.

There is no better place for me to run my first marathon (I received my M.S. from Boston University and later worked at NBC), no better time, and no better way to raise money and awareness for a dear friend I love and miss. It’s a race Katie would have no doubt supported me in, and I know she’ll be with me crossing the finish line. I’ve never run this far, but cancer will not win. Every mile I run, every dollar we raise for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, is a reminder that we will do whatever it takes to end cancer. Katie never lost hope and fought cancer with courage, faith, hope, and grace. Together, we will do the same.

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


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

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