SUMMIT, NJ - Diana Kyser McNeff's father, Jim, was an avid runner. In 1985, he ran his final race, passing away from Lymphoma less than a year later at age 53.
Ever since that time, Kyser McNeff has wanted to run a marathon to honor her father's memory. On April 21 she will get that opportunity, as she and more than 35,000 other runners will take to the streets of Boston on Patriots' Day.
"This winter was especially brutal with temperatures 10 degrees or below, and ice and snow on the ground," said Kyser McNeff. "The memory of my father's struggle with cancer, and the strength he had during his treatment served to get me out of bed and on the road, running on many a dark, cold morning. Last month, a dear family friend was diagnosed with Leukemia, so I am channeling her strength as well."
This year's Boston Marathon, just one year removed from the tragic events at the 2013 event -- when two bombs exploded at the finish line -- is expected to be the largest in the event's history.
Kyser McNeff has partnered with Team in Training to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and, to date, she has more than $13,190 in pledges, and the entire 2014 Boston Team in Training group has raised more than $1.3 million.
Kyser McNeff has covered -- and counted -- 1,013 miles since October, and says she feels physically and mentally prepared for the run. "I have so much nervous energy that I can barely sit still, but it is really just the of excitement of being able to experience one of the greatest events of my lifetime. And this year, especially, there will be so much more energy and support in Boston, as the City takes back their race and proves that Boston is still strong."