Newport native runs for injured, high-spirited friend

BOSTON (WPRI) – The field of runners at this year’s Boston Marathon included a very special group wearing bibs offered by the Boston Athletic Association to survivors of last year’s bombings.

Newport’s Marc Paquette ran the 26.2 mile race wearing a bib for his friend Heather Abbott, who is facing a long road to recovery.

Heather was waiting in line to enter a Boston bar on April 15, 2013, when she was injured by the twin explosions near the finish line of the marathon. Her left leg was injured so severely that doctors had to amputate, leaving her forced to learn to live her life with a prosthetic. She’s remained positive, and even has prosthetic legs fit for stilettos, running, and swimming.

This year, Heather asked her friend Marc Paquette to wear bib number 29023 and run in her honor.

Feeling honored, and a little bit of pressure, Marc started training. “I’m glad to pick up the torch and be the guy,” he said.

Not a serious runner, Marc started pounding the pavement back in the summer and ran the Cape Cod marathon, something he could cross of his bucket list. He had hoped one day to maybe run the Boston Marathon, since he used to live right off the course in Brookline.

Now, he’s achieving that goal, under circumstances he had never dreamed of.

“I think this is something I’ll never forget, I’m really proud to be a part of it,” he told Eyewitness News.

In a victory for both Heather’s long recovery and a 26.2 mile race, Marc hopes to finish in less than four hours.

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