BOSTON — Laura Burgess had never run a marathon before.
But when the Lee native realized she would have the opportunity to participate in one for the first time, she didn't pass it up. She ran in last week's Boston Marathon for Joslin Diabetes Center in honor of her late father, who died from type 1 diabetes complications at the age of 40 in the 1990s. He was diagnosed at age 8.
"I loved it, I had a great time," Burgess said. "I think if I were going to run again, it would [again] have to be for a charity or some sort of cause. It puts a lot more meaning into it."
Burgess, 28, had run in half-marathons before, but never the full 26.2 miles officially.
She now lives in Boston, where she is a registered nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, but went to Lee High School. While at Lee, she played softball and was a cheerleader for the football team.
Burgess finished last week's event at just around the six-hour mark, she said. She stopped multiple times to chat with friends who were scattered along the way at different checkpoints to cheer her on. And she said she enjoyed the actual running experience more than she thought she would.
"All the photographs from the day are of me smiling," she said. "Which was surprising even to me. It was one of the better experiences I've ever had."
Burgess was on the Joslin team with 11 other members. The team goal was to raise $7,500 per person, but she made her personal goal to raise $8,000. According to the CrowdRise page, she raised $9,106.
She said she applied for a spot in the race and had to interview with Joslin for a spot in order to receive a bib from them.
"Three years ago I got the bug to participate," she said. "So I started running, I did a couple of half-marathons, and the opportunity presented itself.
"The hospital I worked at offered me a bib last year, but had to revoke it. So they told me to go over to Joslin and I told them I was interested in running."
Although it was rewarding, Burgess said it was difficult to train for the marathon. She said as a nurse, with her three-day work week, she used her off days and other time to prepare for the marathon.
"The amount of training that it took, the amount of time that went into it [was tough]," she said. "You lose your weekends and spare time."
According to the team's CrowdRise page, Joslin Diabetes Center raised $162,960.