Boston Marathon Bomb Victim Took Up Racing After Losing Leg

PHOTO: Mery DanielCourtesy Mery Daniel
Mery Daniel, second from right, who lost part of her leg in the Boston Marathon Bombing, celebrated with her teammates after she hand-cycled for autism, Oct. 6, 2013.

Mery Daniel, who lost part of her leg at the Boston Marathon bombing, always wanted to enter an athletic race, but she never got around to it.

That is, until her near-death experience taught her there's no time like the present – even if the present involves a prosthetic leg.

She has completed four races, the last one on Saturday, riding a hand-cycle since April. Her longest race was a 27-mile ride to benefit veterans.

"Time is just an illusion really," Daniel, 31, said. "[Racing is] something I actually always wanted to do before the accident, but I got more of a drive for it, more of a determination afterwards."

Her "afterwards" refers to the bombing last year at the finish line of the Boston marathon. The blast killed three and injured 264, including Daniel. The explosion cost Daniel her left leg below the knee.

Read about what Daniel learned from racing.

Physical therapists introduced Daniel to her first hand-cycle, a bicycle with hand-pedals, and she "fell in love" with it.

"What I love about it is that sense of completion every time you finish a race," Daniel said. "Especially because you're helping."

Saturday's race was a 5K to benefit people with autism for the Charles River Center, where her husband works. Her husband raced, too, pushing their 5-year-old in a stroller.

"I'm very proud and excited that the Charles River Center is bringing awareness to autism," she said. "I think it's a very good cause."

Read about how another Boston bombing victim said she no longer fears "horrible shin splints."