From 220 lbs. To Marathon Monday

Posted: February 18, 2011 in Uncategorized
I am excited to share Sheree’s profile with you because it speaks to the significant challenges runners overcome to make it to the starting line of the Boston Marathon.  Then they experience a life-altering transformation that pays significant dividends for the balance of their lives.  I’ve been so inspired by Sheree’s dedication to her training and look forward to sharing in her achievement of completing the Boston Marathon!
“I was 11 years old, I was chubby, and I’d been squeezed into a tight brown unitard against my will. I looked like a sausage link, but I wasn’t a sausage. It was December 14, 1996 and I’d auditioned for and won the role of Rudolph in the Leanne Leslie School of Theatrical Dance annual Christmas pageant.

Before I continue, you need to know that this is not a tale triumph; I will not narrate a story of a girl who overcomes obstacles to achieve her dream of dancing in the limelight. It is much more significant. It is the story of my very first girdle.”

And so began my college application essay. We’d been asked to describe our most significant life’s moment to date. Mine was the day my mom bought me my first pair of extra hold granny panties. I had a girdle and now I was safe from ridicule. That moment defined my life.

Weight was always an issue for me, in childhood and in adulthood. I never owned a pair of jeans as a kid because I couldn’t fit into them. When I moved back to Boston in 2008 after college, I’d hit my all time high: 220-ish lbs. I was depressed. I wallowed in that heavy burden until I finally saw the light; it shone in the form of my primary care physician. I had two options: get healthy or bust.

Busting was really not an option. I bought myself a gym membership for my 23rd birthday, I made sure that gym had televisions, and planned my workouts according to my TV schedule. Two years later, I am training for my very first marathon. (Ironically enough, I don’t watch TV anymore.)

A lot of people have asked me how I do it. The truth is, it’s been a difficult and long road. I have to search for little sources of inspiration every day to keep on track. The Boston Marathon was just supposed to be another means of inspiration for me to continue on my fitness path. I began a blog to keep myself accountable to my peers ( and in return, I was completely inspired.

Now, I find that this whole process has encouraged me to be a better person. I no longer run for just myself. I run for the friend who sent me a message about how I have inspired her to buy a gym membership. I run for my friend who called to say that she’d registered for her first 5K. I run for the complete stranger who has read my blog and finds (somehow) that I inspire her to be a better runner. I run for an amazing organization that benefits kids who are not unlike the insecure child I was dressed as Rudolph. I run for a dear friend who recently sent me this:

“I, for one, have put mentoring on my to-do list. My guess is, others have as well because of the light you’ve shone. You do good things.”

Doing good is why I run. It’s amazing to me that two years ago I could barely run down the block and now…I will run 26.2 miles for everyone who has supported me along the way. Thank you.


  1. terri says:

    Yeah! Go Sheree!!!You’re doing it!Keep up the terrific effort!

  2. Amy says:

    You look terrific! I’m so proud of you for all you have accomplished over these last few years! I remember at the beginning and how hard you were trying.Regardless of how long it’s been since we’ve spoken, you look great. Keep up all the hard work!!! 🙂

  3. Rich Greif says:

    You are in inspiration to us all. Thank you so much for running the marathon to raise money for Mass Mentoring to help us bring more caring adults into the lives of youth.


    • Sheree Dunwell says:

      Thank you all!

      I couldn’t be more thrilled to be running for the Mass Mentoring Partnership. This entire experience has truly changed my life. Mass Mentoring has made me realize that there are so many kids out there who were not unlike me and I am proud to be able to raise money to help them achieve their dreams 🙂

      Thank you to Caoch Rick for completely inspiring me every day!

  4. Kira says:

    Thank you for being the amazing person that you are!

  5. Hello Sheree,

    It’s always wonderful if I’m able to inspire my runners but the reality is that I’m far more inspired by the example you set!

    Thank YOU for the inspiration!

    Your Coach,


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