Mary McManus, motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon finisher, polio and trauma survivor has a remarkable story of resilience, healing, hope and possibilities. She is celebrating 16 years of healing after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease!
Mary contracted paralytic polio in one of the last polio epidemics in the United States. She endured years of abuse at the hands of family members from the age of 8 until 17 when her father ended his life.
At the age of 53 years old, she was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease and was told to prepare to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.
Mary refused to take the diagnosis sitting down. Her pen became her divining rod for healing harnessing the power of the mind/body connection through poetry. She embarked on a journey that took her from taking a leap of faith leaving behind her award-winning career as a VA social worker to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon, and many adventures as a woman transformed through the sport of running. Out of the rubble of her past, Mary dug deep to discover the treasure of who she was always meant to be. Her Spirit shines with brilliant resilience as she conquered every challenge going the distance on the roads and in her life.
Mary is the author of 'Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life', her Trilogy of Transformation that chronicles her health and wellness journey, 'Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays from the 2020 Pandemic,' and 'Into the Light: Emerging From the 2020 Pandemic'. Mary is a motivational speaker who has appeared on many podcasts and radio shows, and wowed live audiences with her powerful message of healing, hope and possibilities. Be sure to visit the News and Events tab to see all of her interviews, live appearances and press.
Here's what Phil Lipof, ABC News Correspondent had to say about Mary in a social media post in January of 2021:
"I met an amazingly inspirational woman in August of 2014 at the Zero Prostate cancer walk/run in Newton Mass. I emceed the event with marathon icon Bill Rodgers. I don’t want to tell you the whole story here because she has just written a book about it - but Mary McManus’s journey from a wheelchair to the finish line at the Boston marathon is a story everyone should hear. How childhood polio, suicide and determination collide at the intersection of inspiration and awesome! Here is a picture of us from that day and the cover of her book (in which she talks about our meeting that day). Getting her signed copy made me smile and remember how spectacular year she is. The book is called “The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953."
Here's what Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon Race Director, author, motivational speaker and founder of DMSE had to say about Mary when reviewing her "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953": A most unlikely runner stood to my right as I gave the oral command for the mobility impaired start of the 113th Boston Marathon on April 20, 2009. That most unlikely runner was Mary McManus. She overcame the childhood challenges of paralytic polio and years of childhood trauma to become a runner at the age of 53 years old and take on the challenge of the Boston Marathon at 55 years old. In “The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953” you’ll be inspired as I have been by her courage, resilience and determination to overcome whatever obstacles life put in her path. Mary’s life story set against the backdrop of running in “The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953” will leave you asking the question, “If Mary was able to accomplish all that in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds, what’s stopping me from being the best I can be?”
Mary holds a BS in Communications from Boston University, an MSW from Boston College and many fond memories of her veterans and their families who blessed her life when she worked at the VA.
Be sure to follow her blog at A Most Unlikely Runner
Her books are available on Amazon
Here’s the link to her YouTube channel