Shelley LeTendre, founder of the suicide awareness group Desperate Tears, qualified for the Boston Marathon. -- Herald file photo

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Desperate Tears leader will run in Boston Marathon

Published 10:41am Friday, April 13, 2012

Life goes fast when you’re a marathon runner.

Just ask Shelley LeTendre, whose upcoming fundraising and education efforts with suicide awareness group Desperate Tears have her almost too busy to think about another big event: the Boston Marathon on Monday.

“It’s huge for me,” she said. “I just have to get the excitement going.”

LeTendre will leave for the Boston Marathon, a 25,000-runner race open to qualifying runners only, on Saturday. She likened the Massachusetts run to running in the Olympics.

“I’ve been trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon for about three years,” LeTendre said. The qualifying race was June 18 last year at Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth. She had doubts during the race about whether she would finish within the time limit.

“I was in pain, my toes were cramping up,” she said. But she had traveled too far to miss the cutoff time of three hours, 50 minutes, she said. “I had to qualify.”

LeTendre ended up crossing the finish line at three hours, 48 minutes, only moments before the qualifying cutoff.

“It’s my sanity,” LeTendre said of running. “It keeps me a happy mom.”

Although she had participated in track and field, she did not really start to enjoy long-distance running until after 2003, when she started doing it as a means of catharsis after her divorce. She later came to like it, she said.

LeTendre has completed 15 full marathons and numerous half marathons. In December, she ran a half marathon barefoot in Las Vegas to raise money for suicide awareness and prevention.


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