Kathy Parmele loves running. The Calvert Memorial Hospital emergency physician says “it has always been my stress reliever.” She even ran six miles four days before her son was born. “That may have been why he was born exactly on his due date,” she jokes.
More recently, the 43-year-old mother of two has varied her exercise. “I’ve been doing triathlons for the last eight years and just completed my first full-length Ironman last year,” Parmele said. “I hope to keep running the long-distance races for my whole life. It certainly keeps me motivated to stay off the couch.”
She has run the Marine Corps Marathon nine years in a row but the Boston Marathon was always on her bucket list. “I went to Harvard and I’ve always loved Boston. I’ve run countless times around the Charles,” she said. “Two of my college roommates still live in Massachusetts and I wanted to take the weekend to introduce my two children and my husband to the area.”
“It’s a huge honor to run the Boston Marathon,” Parmele added. “This year was also the second year after the bombing and was taking place at the same time as the trial of the man charged. I wanted to play my part in showing others that there is more good than bad in people.”
Parmele, who is originally from Greece, said she immigrated to the United States when she was 6 and became a proud American citizen in 1985. “I wanted to honor this great country of ours by wearing red, white and blue on Patriot’s Day,” she said. “It only seemed fitting.”
So, on April 20 she joined 26,610 others who braved the cold and rain to run through the winding roads and streets of eight Massachusetts cities and towns to complete the 2015 Boston Marathon.
Rehabilitating several injuries, she finished in 4:21:50, much slower than her qualifying time but better than her goal of 4:30. “I felt the exhilaration of finishing an iconic race but I also felt cold, wet, tired and sore.” But she quickly adds, “But happy. Very, very happy. I kept thinking, ‘I did it! I finished the Boston Marathon! I also kept thinking, ‘How quickly can I get to a hot shower?”
While her children, Amanda, 12, and Alexi, 14, were a bit embarrassed by their mother’s “crazy get-up” it was a huge hit during the race, said Parmele. “I got hundreds of shout outs but my most memorable moment came about one-half mile before the end of the race.”
“My family was walking on the left side of the route. I saw them and stopped to give hugs and kisses, at which point my daughter told me to ‘go, GO!’ I turned right on Hereford Street and was out of their line of sight but not out of earshot.” At that moment, she said, hundreds of people started chanting loudly in unison, “USA, USA, USA!!!”
After the race, Parmele said, “Amanda came up to me and told me that when she heard the cheering and chanting she got goose bumps. That was by far the most memorable moment.