CESO – On October 11, Sandeep “Sunny” Patil will be one of an estimated 20,000 runners competing in the Boston Marathon.
He will fulfill a dream of both participating in an event that started in 1897 with 18 runners, and helping to raise funds to help the Dana Farber Cancer Institute continue to provide cancer treatment.
It has a reason to help fight cancer; the disease struck his father at the age of 37, when Patil was only 9 years old.
Patil and his four siblings made a pact.
“We have decided not to touch tobacco in our life,” he said.
He and his siblings helped his mother run the family car repair business in India – she had been a stay-at-home mom. At the time, there were few women running these kinds of businesses. “We all helped her, we were very focused,” he said.
He arrived in the United States in 2001, first working as a software programmer in New York City before moving to Saco in 2006. Married, he and his wife Seema Shinde have two children.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about Maine,” he said. “Less crime, and the people are nice.”
Patil, 48, started running about ten years ago, he said, because he got involved in taekwondo.
“My daughter inspired me,” Patil said. Young Sarah Patil started taking taekwondo lessons at the age of 6 and won a series of medals in a number of competitions, including a national competition. Patil joined his daughter in sports and was awarded several black belts.
“When I started taekwondo my trainer told me to go for a run, five miles, 10 miles,” he said, to build up his stamina.
When the pandemic changed the world in 2020, Patil and his daughter no longer traveled to Rhode Island regularly for taekwondo lessons – but kept running, heading to Camp Ellis and back, a 10-mile run. or continuing the race to Black Point in Scarborough, a total of 17 or 18 miles. He also cycles from the East Trail to Cape Elizabeth and back again, for cardiovascular benefits.
He heard about the Boston Marathon, qualified and decided to raise funds for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in memory of his father. He has developed a social media page for information and donations: https://www.facebook.com/donate/1167009663810326/?fundraiser_source=external_url
Recently, Patil experienced what he described as the “runner’s knee” and is undergoing physical therapy. A recent 10 mile run caused him pain, so now he’s running in a pool, as part of his therapy. He said that would not prevent him from participating in the marathon.
“I’m going to do my best, see how far I can go,” he said of the Boston Marathon.
The October 11 event is the first run of the 26.2 mile course since 2019. The Boston Athletic Association has canceled the 2020 marathon due to the coronavirus pandemic and moved it from Patriots Day in April to October from This year. While the marathon saw 30,000 participants in 2018 and 2019, the limit has been set at 20,000 this year due to pandemic concerns. Runners must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test before the race.
Patil will wear bib 16295.
“I am here to take advantage of it,” he said. “I want to take advantage of the moment.”
And he pointed out that running with 20,000 people is different from solo races at Camp Ellis.
“When people applaud, the cheers give you more energy,” he said.