RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - One local runner is taking things to the next level after qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
She says running is almost therapy for her and she encourages others to follow their athletic dreams.
Rapid City Native Caiti Kean started running in high school and developed her passion competing in different marathons.
"Well I have been running for about 15 years and it's just something that every runner about ninety-nine percent of runners always dream about doing, it's the unicorn of running."
Last August she ran in the Leading Ladies Marathon after health complications kept her on the sidelines.
"About eighteen months ago, I had to have two surgeries to remove a mass from my sternum and I initially had the first surgery to remove the mass and then I had a complication. Then I had a second surgery that required a second surgery."
A week before hitting the start line, she was hit with even more troubling news...the passing of her grandfather. But it was her family who inspired her to cross the finish line
"Dealing with that , it was a lot and so going into this marathon I didn't really have any expectations , I just wanted to run to run and just kind of get a clean slate and my dad took me to the starting line that day and that is exactly what he told me to do, because I asked him why am I even here today. He said Just do what you said, make this a fresh start clean slate everything and start from here."
And a new start was right, without noticing she crossed the finish line at 3 hours, 28 minutes and 30 seconds, qualifying her for the Boston Marathon.
"I didn't even check my watch, I took my phone with me for my music, I didn't even check the time until I was about a mile and twenty-four and I realized I was within the time frame that I can possibly do this. And my dad was at the finish line and I saw him and he kind of just looked at me like what did you just do right now because he didn't expect me to do that either."
Running in the marathon is a way for her to cope with her past but she also sees it as running to a new future.
"Going to the Boston Marathon, is truly an honor and it's a privilege. So to focus on that, I worked my tail off to get there and to just experience it and to be amongst this community that has helped me in so many ways. I met so many people through running that I would have never met otherwise."