Saturday, January 29, 2022
Jan. 29, 2022

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Locals make motivated return to Boston Marathon

Vancouver couple runs to support Rare Diseases patient, organization

By , Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter

Running the Boston Marathon for the first time last year was both inspiring and uplifting for Christine and Mike Donabedian of Vancouver.

The mood was celebratory one year after the bombing that shook the fabled race. The enthusiasm along the 26.2-mile course was part of Boston’s healing, and felt extra special given the tragedy of 2013.

“The support all along the route gave you all the adrenaline you needed to get to the finish line,” Christine said. “There was never a lull.”

On Monday, the Donabedians will be back on the Boston Marathon course, running for a different sort of healing. This time, they are running as part of the Running for Rare Diseases Marathon Team for the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

“This was an opportunity to get involved with something that really needs people stepping up and getting involved to help raise awareness,” Mike said.

It was at the midpoint of the 2014 Boston Marathon that Mike noticed a group of supporters with signs encouraging members of the rare diseases team. So this time Christine and Mike are running for patient partner — Tara Voogel of California, who suffers from GNE Myopathy also known as Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy (HIBM). HIBM progressively weakens patients, and often strikes in the prime of life.

Christine said she talks with Voogel at least once each week, getting updates on Voogel’s efforts to raise awareness and money for research and treatment for people with HIBM.

“She really provides an inspiration to me,” Christine said.

Mike Donabedian began getting serious about distance running when he decided it was time to walk away from ice hockey. He played that sport for four decades before turning to running for fitness. He has completed the Honolulu Marathon 10 consecutive years and run a few others.

Inspired by Mike, Christine Donabedian started running six years ago, completed her first 5-kilometer race in 2010 and said she found running therapeutic. She said running provides some alone time in her busy life, and that the couple’s dedication to fitness set a good example for their three children.

A year ago, the Donabedians went to Boston chasing personal goals. Mike came up about 5 minutes short of breaking 3 hours in 2014. Christine finished in 3:38:09, about a minute off her personal best.

This year Christine hopes to finish in 3:30 or faster. Mike said he hasn’t trained as much this time around. No matter how the race goes, Mike Donabedian figures it will be worthwhile.

“No matter what happens, we did something that helped people who can use it,” he said.

While running the Boston Marathon, Vancouver residents Mike and Christine Donabedian hope to raise awareness of the challenges facing people with rare diseases. They hope to raise at Least $3,000. To donate, go to and search for the name Donabedian.

The 119th Boston Marathon:

When: 7 a.m. Pacific Time, Monday.

TV: Universal Sports Network (Dish, DirecTV).


Local runners: 29 people from Southwest Washington are registered for the race.

Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter