Londonderry man is running for Joanie
Mark Sullivan, 40, of Londonderry, will wear an angel pin in memory of his friend Joanie Meallo when he runs in the Boston Marathon on Monday. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)
The 40-year-old Londonderry resident, who is running his fifth Boston Marathon for a cause close to his heart, will wear an angel pin during the race in remembrance of a friend lost to cancer.
This year, Sullivan is running in memory of Joanie Meallo, the wife of longtime colleague and friend Greg Meallo. Joanie died late last year, just a short time after her cancer diagnosis.
"She wanted me to keep Joanie close to my heart as I navigate my way through the course," he said. "I told her it was my honor."
Initially, Sullivan said, he wasn't particularly alarmed by the blast, but as he made his way to the runners' meeting area, it soon became clear something was very, very wrong.
Fellow Sullivan Tire employee John Drewinak, who manages the company's Plymouth, Mass., store, also is running on Sullivan's 30-member team again this year. While both Sullivan and Drewinak were able to complete the race, most of their teammates didn't get to cross the finish line due to the terrorist attacks.
"For me, I felt obligated to run again. I knew how big this marathon is going to be," Sullivan said. "I want to cross that finish line with all of my teammates, because most of them never got to have that experience last year."
A year-round runner, he said he began training heavily for the marathon in late 2013. At the peak of his training, he ran about 45 miles each week to get him in shape for Monday's run.
Sullivan hopes to raise at least $7,500 for the South Shore Hospital Cancer Care team. As of Friday morning, he was approximately $1,000 short of his goal.