Why I need to run the 2019 Boston Marathon
Please note that the explanation below was originally sent as an email to Dave McGilivray (race director of the Boston Marathon) first, and then forwarded to the BAA back in November 2018. To date, I have not received a response back from the people I sent it to at BAA.
UPDATE: January 5, 2019. In December 2018, due to Julia’s failing health, my brother Prescott, his wife Deb and my niece Julia flew out to the Cleveland Clinic and she was placed on the lung transplant list. I have added this as Reason #6 (Julia and Her Family) but have kept the original letter intact to explain my story and reasons for requesting an entry for the 123rd (2019) Boston Marathon.
My name is Roger Wright and I am seeking an Invitational Entry to run the 2019 Boston Marathon. Dave McGillivray knows my story, but I will provide a brief introduction, as well as why I need to run the 123rd Boston Marathon.
When I was 7, my father ran Boston in 1968 and it had been a goal to run in his footsteps someday. In June 2008, I was 47, almost 300 pounds and hated running but dedicated myself to run the 2009 Boston Marathon. A big part of the reason I was running was to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a disease that my then 9 year old niece Julia suffers from.
In 10 months, I lost ~120 pounds, went from running 10 yards to running the entire Boston Marathon non-stop, with a pulled calf.
To raise money for the CFF, I made a video that I called “My Journey To The Boston Marathon” which was reposted/renamed “The Most Inspiring Video You Will Ever Watch” by a friend. It went viral and currently has over 9,040,000 views.
Below is a list that I have compiled to explain why I am asking for an Invitational Entry to run the 123rd Boston Marathon. Probably won’t seem it, but I tried to be brief.
- It will be my 10 year anniversary of my first marathon (2009 Boston). I am now 57 years old and I want to show others that you can change your life and maintain it, even after 10 years. If I put the weight back on, I fear others would use me as an excuse. I want to be an example for others to follow.
- My video now has over 9 million views. Take out the 2013 bombing videos and I believe it is the most viewed video on Youtube about the Boston Marathon. Many people find inspiration in it including Meb Keflezighi who told me it was one of his favorite videos. Still puts a huge smile on my face!
- Because of the video’s popularity, I have received (literally) thousands of emails and messages. Here’s an email that I received a couple of weeks ago (edited for size). With all sincerity, I believe there is no greater reward than having a positive impact on someone’s life. I have replied back to each and every one of them:
My name is Chanyanut Nisaret. 38 years old. I just want to Thank you for your blogs and your story which made me believe that I can do it too. I started from 126.2 kg on August 12th, 2017 to walk at first until November 2017 I started to run on treadmills 10 minutes. And on June 2nd, 2018, I did my first marathon in my life in Stockholm marathon. And I had crossed the finish line of 4 marathons since June 2018. My next marathon is on November 4th, 2018 New York City marathon. I´m today 72.6 kg. Because of you, I had the courage to start my marathon journey and now I´m training to be a triathlete. It´s so amazing journey. It was really hard but I did it! Thank you so much for your inspirational story.
- It will be my 63rd full marathon in 10 years, most of them signed up for with people who have contacted me for my help. In each marathon, I have pushed myself as hard as I can, leaving nothing on the course. As far as follow-through, sadly, only about 20% make it to the starting line of any race, but it took me 40 years to finally control my weight and get to the starting line, so I know where they are coming from.
- I am not running Boston because it is The Boston Marathon. I was brought up here, my dad ran it when I was 7 years old and it has always been a part of my life. I live 2 miles from the course and run on it every week. Every year on Marathon Monday since 2009 except when I have run it officially (and 2011 when I ran London), I run 26 miles on the course, usually starting in Wellesley at midnight to the finish and back. I do this to pay homage to the race that literally changed my life.
- Julia and her family need my help. Normally I run for Non Profits centered on helping the CF community (ie Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Boomer Esiason Foundation, etc) and have helped raise over $125,000 in the last 9.5 years. That said, in December 2018, due to Julia’s swiftly declining health, she has been placed on the lung transplant list at both Childrens and the Cleveland Clinic. Regardless where she goes, it will be a 3-6 month recovery with the cost to Julia’s family somewhere between $100-200,000. I will be working with COTA.org which is nonprofit organization created specifically for families facing these astronomical expenses. 100% of funds raised go directly to Julia’s expenses. To see webpage, go to
Julia and her parents at her high school graduation in June 2017
I am requesting an Invitational Entry as this 10 year anniversary race is extremely important to me, as well as to Julia and her family. I honestly believe that this “10 year” opportunity will allow me to help others as well as Julia and her family with possibly some additional media exposure.
Thank you for your consideration and any help you could provide.