Yanni, who was injured in one of the blasts that rocked the Boston Marathon six months ago, made a triumphant return to marathon running Sunday, finishing the Chicago Marathon in 5 hours, 44 minutes.
“I shouldn’t be running right now. But I just finished a marathon, so if you set your mind to it, it’s totally possible,” Yanni laughed after the race.
Shouldn’t be running is an understatement. Yanni had her lower left leg shattered in the bombing and had to have surgeries to remove shrapnel and dead muscle and also received a skin graft on her thigh. She had to relearn how to walk and spent months strengthening her leg walking in a pool.
She finally began running on pavement again in August, but the longest she had run before Sunday’s marathon was a little over 11 miles the week before, according to the Boston Herald.
She says this has been a goal since the tragic day in Boston.
“That was never going to stop me. From the moment I sat down with a tourniquet on my leg, this was the goal and I just did it, I finished it,” Yanni said.
When she finally crossed the finish line, she was greeted with cheers of "Boston strong" and the announcer told a cheering crowd “Lee Ann Yanni, survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing, running today!”
It wasn’t easy getting herself back in the physical shape required to go 26.2 miles, and even her physical therapist said, “It is a little crazy. It’s a pretty aggressive goal.”
But Yanni, also a physical therapist, never relented. And in the end, she was happy to have gone through with the race, which she signed up for in February as a tribute to her dad, who died of cancer.
“I know he would be proud,” said Yanni, afterward.
You can bet there are plenty of folks in Boston proud of her as well.