‘I run for my son’: One NYC Marathon runner’s inspiring story

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NEW YORK — It is one of the sure signs that life in New York City is getting back to normal, pre-pandemic times.

The running of the 50th New York City Marathon is set to kick off Sunday morning and make its way through all five boroughs.

There are about 30,000 runners this year, many with a poignant story to tell about why they’re running.

New York mother Diane Owens’ story is particularly moving.

“I run for my son,” the marathoner told PIX11 News on Saturday. “He’s 9 years old and he has tumors on his back and his brain, and his arms,” she added.

Owens had never been a runner until her second son, Alex, was born with a rare, incurable disease called neurofibromatosis.

2021 NYC Marathon runner's inspiring story
New York City Marathon runner Diane Owens says she runs for her son. (Courtesy Owens)

In her son’s first two years of life, Owens she raised awareness for the disease and $70,000 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation through her running.

Then, about five years ago, the mom soldiered through her own medical challenge.

“About two months after my third New York City Marathon I became paralyzed with a rare illness, Guillain-Barré syndrome,” Owens said. “I was actually a quadriplegic, head to toe, for two months,” she added.

Her doctors thought she’d never walk again, but through her grit, love for her son and her faith in God, she is not only walking, but running in her fifth NYC Marathon.

She has raised close to half-a-million dollars for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, with her son cheering her on.

“It feels amazing. I’m so excited and proud,” Owens said. “This is my own city and there is no better place to run.”

Diane is one of 30,000 runners. And so many of them have overcome obstacles to run this marathon.

The field is 20,000 runners smaller because of the pandemic, but for those running through all five boroughs Sunday, there is so much to celebrate.

“This year’s marathon is especially poignant because it’s the 50th anniversary, running 50 years of legacy, nonstop action,” Ted Metellus, NYC Marathon race director said. “26.2 miles, a true celebration first to last,” he added.

If you would like to make a donation to Diane Owens’ cause, the Children’s Tumor Foundation, you can go to join.ctf.org/dianeowens2021.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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