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The distance

Six marathoners on what makes them run

As the more than 20,000 athletes who gathered on Patriots’ Day morning for the 110th Boston Marathon can testify, it takes a special kind of motivation to push your body over more than 26 miles of asphalt with nothing but your own legs, and heart, to propel you. Today, we look at six BU-affiliated marathoners and what brought them through the predawn winter training runs, the soreness, and the side-stitches to the starting line in Hopkinton, and what kept them running through town after town — Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley — then up Heartbreak Hill and on to the finish line in Copley Square. 

The featured runners are: Ruben Azocar, a School of Medicine associate professor of anesthesiology; Caroline Apovian, a MED associate professor of medicine and pediatrics and the director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at BMC; Domenick D’Amico, the Boston University Medical Center business manager; Matt Mansfield, an associate director in the BU Purchasing Office; Betzaluz Gutierrez, a School of Management doctoral student and an asthmatic; and Lauren Smith, a MED associate professor of pediatrics.

Click the arrow above to see a four-minute slideshow about these runners.