Running with a purpose: Suffolk alum injured in bombings inspires friend to run Boston Marathon

Melissa+Belovich+posing+at+Boston+Marathon+finish+line.

Courtesy of Melissa Belovich

Melissa Belovich posing at Boston Marathon finish line.

Suffolk University alumnus Melissa Belovich (‘09) ran the Boston Marathon on Oct. 11 in honor of a fellow Suffolk graduate who was injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

Belovich, from Brookline, said she was deeply affected by the events of the bombings, which injured her friend and Suffolk alum Kaitlynn Milone (‘10).

“If she went from not being mobile to running her own marathon two years ago after being severely injured, I can’t quit,” Belovich said. “So, if it weren’t for her, I think that’s what truly pushed me through.” 

Belovich had always been amazed by the race growing up, but never had the ambition to run it until after the events that took place in 2013. She explained how Milone was her biggest inspiration to participate in her first race in 2019.

Victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon get invitational bibs, so Milone invited Belovich to run in her honor. 

Now in 2021, the race marks Belovich’s second marathon, and she was very excited to be back after COVID-19 pushed back the race by a year and a half. Belovich said she started out feeling amazing, but around mile 12 she hit a wall.

“I was absolutely exhausted and so at that point on, I just went into survival mode with lots of walking and jogging and just told myself it was critical to make it to the finish line in under six hours, and I did it,” she said.

Belovich said that while she finished this marathon faster than her last with a time of 5:53:26, she found it more physically draining. She felt a little disappointed, saying that her training had been going great and she felt very prepared prior to the race.  

Belovich was still glad to be doing the marathon again and was proud of all the training she put in prior to the race, as well as being able to complete it with a better time.

Melissa Belovich (left) is embraced by Kaitlyn Milone (right) after completing the Boston Marathon on Oct. 11 (Courtesy of Melissa Belovich)

“To me, it’s not just about your pace,” Belovich said. “Pace is just a number and it’s very much about the whole overall experience. I also believe that the race itself is basically just the cherry on top of your whole training and overall, I would say that the whole training was spectacular.”

Belovich said she was glad she was able to race in person and have this Boston tradition return. When she finally crossed the finish line, she said she was relieved, as it was not only important to her but also to her friend she was running it for.

“I knew I had to finish, there was no question about it,” said Belovich.

Belovich is recovering from her race, but is preparing to race again in the New York City Marathon for autism research on Nov. 7. She is planning on training as soon as her body is physically ready.

 Being able to do these marathons has truly changed Belovich. She said she only planned to complete three marathons in her life, and while she is not sure if she will do another after Nov. 7, she will continue to run, as it has become such a huge part of her life.

“I still don’t think that I’m truly great at running because I’m still learning, but I do believe that if you want to do something go do it and make it happen and quit the excuses,” Belovich said. “I definitely feel that I am no longer making excuses for much in life outside of running.”