Reporter’s beat is to fulfill marathon promise

EAST PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) — The shock of the explosions during last year’s Boston Marathon only strengthened the resolve of countless runners, including a Rhode Islander who had a promise to keep and a goal to meet.

Susan Hogan’s alarm goes off before the sun comes up on most days as she prepares for another run in the still chilly air.

“It’s easier to do it in mileage than in hours,” she says.

You’re used to seeing her run down Call 12 For Action reports. She carries some of that same determination as she puts in not only miles on the road, but also lifts weights, swings kettle bells, strengthens her core and churns up more miles on a bike.

As you’d guess, it’s not easy training for the marathon.

“I always listen to music but everyone tells me not to,” she tells us. “Because you want to listen to the crowd. You want to hear them. They’re the ones who push you to get you to the finish line.”

Somone else will be her pushing as well.

“He was there for my very first half marathon, cheering me on. And I kept saying to him, I’m going to run Boston. ”

Her father Frank Hogan was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2007, and fought if off for four years.

“And we thought he had just turned the corner and he was doing okay, and then he was diagnosed with Mesothelioma.”

She’ll never forget his last words to her during what she thought was a one way conversation, the night before he passed away.

“Just having a chat with him. And he opened his eyes and said I love you honey. ”

An injury sidelined her goal of running last April.  So, she watched the marathon from work, saying she wanted to see the “weekend warriors” who’d cross the finish line about the time she expected to have finished.

“And I remember seeing smoke out of the corner of my eye. And then I was covering the bombings.”

Like many others who will run this year, the bombings did nothing to push her off-course.

“You know what? I’m not going to let that get me. In fact,  you become even more determined. ”

She picked a charity that might help cure what took her dad, raising more than $4000 so far for the Leukemia And Lymphoma Society as part of Team In Training. And she turned up her preparation a notch or two, with more long runs and brief conversations.

“Early in the morning, the sun comes up over this huge field,” she says.  “And I always say good morning to my dad right there.”

She’ll wear her father’s name on her back, and carry his inspiration in her heart, potentially asking for a little help, maybe somewhere around Heartbreak Hill.

“There are points along the way when I go ugh,” she says as we followed her on a recent run. “Like mile 20, when you think you hit your wall. I have a feeling at that piont, I’m going to need my dad.”

She’ll have plenty of family members in Boston, routing her on along with what’s expected to be a record crowd, but she also feels her dad will be their too.

“He’s so going to be at the finish line,” she says. “There’s no doubt.”

Send story ideas to Walt at and follow us on Twitter: @StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.                              

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