News and Events

Ambassador for BRS

Mary is once again thrilled and delighted to be an Ambassador for the 2025 Boston Run Show. What an exciting line up of speakers that include Des Linden and Meb! Check back for your code for when you'll be able to get FREE tickets for a limited time only. Here is the link to Mary's Ambassador page. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter to stay up to date on all the show's happenings and offers. The Boston Outdoor Expo is co-locating with the Boston Run Show next year. It's going to be an epic weekend of inspiration, community, connections and exhibitors.

Enjoy this brilliant video from Raccoon Media Group in celebration of Global Running Day 2024. Mary and her daughter Ruth Anne celebrated their joy of running with runners from around the Globe.

book cover









"A Most Unlikely Runner:Inspiration From The Heart of a Warrior" was published on 5/25/2024. Her book is a selection of the WBZ News Radio Book Club.

Here is the link to Hilary Topper's book review of  "A Most Unlikely Runner:Inspiration From The Heart of a Warrior" on her blog. Hilary has an amazing journey as a once couch potato to endurance athlete. Subscribe to her blog, podcast and learn more about this amazing woman at



Mary was thrilled to share her remarkable journey on the Proud to BU Podcast. One of Mary's favorite quotes is from Steve Jobs, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future." In this riveting interview with Jeff Murphy, Director, Alumni Career Engagement, you'll hear about how Boston University played a critical role in Mary's life. You can listen to the episode by following this link. Be sure to subscribe to their newsletter so you don't miss an episode. Be sure to subscribe and download on your favorite podcast platform.

"For Mary McManus (COM’76), contracting polio in kindergarten was just one of the many challenges she faced throughout her childhood. Despite her difficult upbringing, Mary went on to have a long career in social work until, in her early-50s, she was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome—a neuromuscular disease that doctors said could cause Mary to lose her mobility.

In this episode, hear how this devastating diagnosis inspired Mary to defy the odds and complete the unlikely goal of running the Boston Marathon, and how she has channeled her health struggles and personal trauma into a successful second career as a poet, author, and motivational speaker. Her 7th book, “A Most Unlikely Runner: Inspiration From The Heart of a Warrior” will be released on May 25, 2024. Find details on her website and don’t miss the profile of Mary in Bostonia Magazine.

Please note: this episode includes a discussion of a family member’s suicide. If you are dealing with thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline."

Second Acts

Mary's story was featured in the February 2024 issue of Bostonia Magazine, "Their Second Acts" story. Here is the link to the article. Be sure to listen to Mary share how running transformed her life in her second act after receiving a devastating diagnosis.


Outdoor Expo

Mary was thrilled and delighted to be an Ambassador for the inaugural Boston Outdoor Expo Show. Scott Jurek and  Mike Seaman were excited to receive author copies of "A Most Unlikely Runner:Inspiration From The Heart of a Warrior."

Scott Jurek and me with book

Mike with book


Mary's riveting story about how she got started running was a clip featured on the On The Runs podcast Best of 2023.  Here's the link to listen to the full episode for inspiration, motivation and runners' overcoming incredible odds.

Best of OTR

"Join us on episode 56 for lovely Mary McManus as she shares her remarkable and inspiring story of hope and unimaginable possibilities that she made happen after being diagnosed with Post Polio Syndrome and being told she would live the rest of her life in a wheelchair. But at the age of 53, Mary wasn't going to let that happen and she started doing something for the very first time in her life, Run. However before she could start that journey, she needed to get a pair of running shoes first."

Mary was a guest on Episode 56 of the On the Runs Podcast. Here is the link to listen to the full episode. Be sure to subscribe to their podcast on your favorite platform and to their Youtube channel for stories to uplift and inspire you! Follow this link to see the excerpt from the interview when Mary shares her personal trainer's reaction to her next goal of wanting to run the 2009 Boston Marathon despite never having run a day in her life.


Mary was featured in Boston University's Fall 2023 Bostonia Magazine Alumni Class Notes. “Hearing the powerful healing story of another,” she writes, “gives one hope and ignites a spark of what’s possible, despite all appearances to the contrary.”

with medal

Mary had an amazing adventure at the 2024 Boston Run Show as an Ambassador.  Be sure to follow her blog for all the details. She reunited with old friends, made new friends and met up with friends she'd known only through social media. Here is Mary reunited with champion Bill Rodgers:

bill rodgers


In March 2023, Mary's story was featured on Mike Reilly's Stories from the Finish Line Presented by CURAD Performance Series. Read the full story by following this link.

Stories from the finish line








On 8/28, Mary was the guest on the AdaptX Podcast with host Brendan Aylward. Here is the link to listen. "This week, Brendan is joined by Mary McManus, an author, runner, and advocate for Post-Polio Syndrome whose impact on the world of endurance sports is undeniable. Listen to Brendan and Mary's conversation on the complexity of her diagnosis, her resilient approach to life, and her involvement in making endurance sports more accessible."

Adaptx podcast

Mary's journey on the Road to the 2009 Boston Marathon in the wake of the devastating diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome was featured in the Brookline Tab in two articles; one in May of 2008 and one in April of 2009. Links to articles in caption.

Fifty years after polio, a Brookline woman is fighting back
2nd tab article
Once crippled by polio, Brookline woman now running her first marathon

Mary was a guest on the LA Tribune Show All Things Rex Worldwide in October, 2022.

"The Takin A Walk Podcast Series is about cool people, telling their stories of life lessons, business advice and triumphs.  It is also about ordinary people with extraordinary stories.

That is the story of Mary McManus on the latest episode of Takin A Walk.

Mary has known tremendous challenges during her life. From a family situation that ended in tragedy to her personal health challenges with polio the road has not been easy. At the age of five she contracted paralytic polio and at the age of 53 she was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome. She was told then to be prepared to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.

Mary would not be brought down!

She took to writing poetry and used the pen as a divining rod for healing. Mary harnessed the power of mind/body connection through her writing and has been able to achieve amazing things in her journey of hope.

She has become a motivational force in the Boston community from achieving a goal of finishing the Boston Marathon in 2009 to continuing to share her story of resilience and hope as a speaker and an author.

I hope you can enjoy her uplifting spirit as much as I did on our walk at the Brookline Reservoir on this episode available here." ~Buzz Knight July 11, 2022


The Cardinal Cafe was a podcast borne out of the pandemic, presented by Greg Chastain, Founder and President, and Ed Siegel, Vice President of Voices of Hope Boston. Mary recorded her interview for the podcast on 5/25th which marked the 14th anniversary of when she took a leap of faith leaving her award winning career as a VA social worker to heal her life from the once devastating effects of paralytic polio and trauma. They chat about how she overcame seemingly impossible obstacles in her life, and her newest book, "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic." Listen by following this link.

Cardinal Cafe Pic






In July 2021,  Mary was interviewed by Liz Brunner on her podcast, "Live Your Best Life!"

Mary was a guest on Bernie Siegel, MD's  Mind Health Matters radio show. Mary, Bernie and Deborah Beauvais, visionary behind Dreamvisions 7 Radio and TV Network talk about Mary's latest book, "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic." Follow this link to be inspired as Mary shares her incredible journey of transformation from enduring childhood paralytic polio and severe abuse at the hands of family members through the gift of poetry, the power of the mind/body connection. running and her good fortune of finding her way to Bernie's work and wisdom. Tune in to be uplifted and inspired and rekindle your sense of hope and optimism regardless of the challenges you may face.

Mind Health Matters


Mary's healing story was featured in the Heal Documentary newsletter and under Healing Stories on their website.



In September 2020, Mary was part of the Virtual Boston Marathon Expo speaking about her journey as a most unlikely runner as part of the Late Life Running-Whole Life Running Panel. Internationally renowned runner and running historian Roger Robinson moderated the panel with guests Gail Kislevitz, Jonathan Beverly and consecutive Boston Marathon record holder Ben Beach. They answered questions and offered insights about the benefits and joys that come with “even more miles.” You can watch the panel by following this link.

Boston Marathon


Mary sharing her inspirational journey
An enthralled audience listened with rapt attention as Mary shared her journey from a wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond at the Pre-Race Pasta Dinner Hyannis Marathon Weekend 2020!

Mary was the special guest speaker at the Hyannis Marathon Weekend in February of 2020 at the Pre-Race pasta dinner. It was an honor and a thrill for Mary to share the stage with runner icon Bill Rodgers.

Her blog post, “Embrace the Possibilities” captures the event.

Mary and Bill at Expo
Mary with Bill Rodgers at the Hyannis Marathon Expo showcasing each other's books


David R. Hamilton Ph.D.’s “Tenth Anniversary of How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body” features Mary's journey of transformation harnessing the power of the mind/body connection to heal from the once devastating effects of paralytic polio and trauma. It's available on Amazon.

How your mindMary's story

"Polio Survivor and Brookline Resident Mary McManus has led a life of determination, running Boston, writing books and helping others along the way." Mary's life of being "scrappy and determined" was featured in the October 27th 2021 edition of the Brookline Tab. "Brookline Post-Pan (Not Quite): Mary McManus - A Life of Determination" by Susie Davidson paints a powerful portrait of Mary's journey. Read the article by following this link.

into the light
"Into the Light: Emerging From the 2020 Pandemic" is a selection of the  2023 WBZ Book Club.