Dad Wins 3 Marathons in 8 Days, All For His Little Baby Boy
For Bryan Morseman, racing isn’t just about his love of the sport, he also runs to pay medical costs for his son who was born with an uncommon developmental congenital disorder. He recently won three marathons in the space of eight days, successfully scoring around £3,880 to put towards medical care for his son.
Morseman, 29, has won 23 of the 42 marathons he’s run since his race back in 2008 but his accomplishments have taken a new meaning now that expensive medical care is needed for his child. His son, 9-month-old Leeim, has spina bifida.
Spina bifida develops while still in the womb, when a baby’s spinal column does not form property. If untreated, it could lead to brain damage, the loss of being able to use one’s legs and other health problems. Leeim, a premature baby, spent several weeks at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“It was an eye-opening and eye-watering experience,” Morseman said of his time in Philadelphia.
While his wife was hospitalized, Morseman lived in nearby Camden, New Jersey, with his oldest son Alden, now 2. “It was just heart-wrenching and a complete game-changer.”
The family returned to Bath last summer and looks forward each day.
Leeim undergoes physical therapy three times each week, but Morseman said it remains unclear whether his son will ever be able to walk.
“Every time I’m in a race I think of him and how my pain is nothing compared to what he has gone through,” said Morseman, who works full time for World Kitchen Inc. in Corning.
“He gives me the energy shot to pick me up and carry me through to the finish.”
On March 14, Morseman won the Montgomery Marathon in Alabama, with a time of 2:24:40 and about 31/2 minutes ahead of the second-place finisher. The following morning, Morseman said he ran the Tobacco Road Marathon in Cary, North Carolina, since the race was on the way home to New York, he said.
For the second straight day, he broke the tape at the finish line, this time in 2:32:39. This time, he ran nearly 13 minutes faster than the second place runner, according to race results,
One week later, on March 22, the family traveled to Virginia Beach where Morseman ran his fastest marathon of the week at the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon. Morseman won his third marathon in eight days with a time of 2:24:10.
And, he said, for the first time in his distance running career, he ran a marathon with negative splits, which means he ran the second half of the course faster than his first 13.1 miles.
Morseman had placed second in the 2011 Shamrock Marathon and was familiar with the course. He said he decided to push hard “and see how fast I could go.”
His effort paid off.
“All three races really played out well and right into my hands,” Morseman said, noting that he ran all three marathons while leading the pack at a comfortable pace. “But that said, with no one around me, I think I could’ve pushed myself farther and could’ve gone faster.”
And, he said, all three wins were incredibly emotional. And with the three wins under his belt, Morseman earned $5,750.
Morseman was 23 when he ran his first marathon — the Wineglass Marathon in Corning — in October 2008 several months after he graduated from college. He was the second person to cross the finish line, in 2:27:45. Morseman went on to win his hometown race two other times (in 2011 and 2014) and plans to run it again this fall, he said.
Though it’s the lone marathon on his fall racing schedule, Morseman said he expects something else will come up.
Unlike most endurance athletes, Morseman does not train with a coach or toward one or two marathons per year. His racing calendar varies, but has included as many as 11 marathons in 12 months during his post-college running career, he said.
“I don’t like putting all my eggs in one basket,” he said. “When you only run a few, you waste time, training and money if it doesn’t go well.”
Although many marathons around the globe are on his bucket list, Morseman has limited himself to domestic races.
“It would be nice to go overseas, but I won’t go without (my) family,” he said. “If they can’t go, I don’t go.”
Morseman credits his family and employer for supporting his quest. He trains during his lunch break and late at night after his sons are asleep. His wife often follows in a vehicle when he hits the road for long distances.
He ran his personal best of 2:19:57 at the Pocono Marathon Run for Red Mountain last May (he’s won that race four times), but Morseman said his ultimate goal is to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. (The standard to get in is 2:18.)
“We’ll see,” he said. “Other things happen in life. Right now, my family is far more important than qualifying.”
Want to help? A well deserved GoFundMe has been has been set up for little Leeim and his medical costs,