Focused on finishing

BARRE, Vt. (WCAX) - Monday will be Kristin Murner's first marathon. It's been on the Barre Mother of three's bucket list for quite some time, but that's not the only reason she's doing it.

"No one runs a marathon without motivation to do so," Murner said.

In Kristin's case, that motivation is her 14-year-old son, Eli. Seven years ago, he was diagnosed with Stargardt Disease, which is causing his vision to deteriorate.

"I don't think I really understood what all of that meant at the time, but since then I've just learned to live with it," Eli Murner said.

Dr. Mark Leipert is Eli's Optometrist at Optical Expressions in Berlin.

"He's definitely got blurred central vision," Leipert said. "It's a problem with the photo receptors in the center part of the vision. The cone photo receptors which do color and detail."

Stargardt is an inherited disease that affects about 1 in 10,000 people. Fortunately for Eli, technology has helped him see past the barriers. He uses a microscopic camera and iPad to help him in school.

"If anybody I know is excited to be playing with electronic devices that can help him see and navigate life, it's him," Dr. Leipert said.

These days, Eli navigates to Mass Eye and Ear in Boston for his primary care. Mass Eye and Ear has its own marathon team and on Monday, Kristin Murner will be the only Vermonter running on it.

"Last Summer she said, 'Hey, I'm going to run the Boston Marathon. I might need your help to raise money and stuff,' and I said cool," Eli Murner said.

Each footstep closer to the finish is another dollar towards finding a cure.

"In those moments where you're kind of out there wondering what you're doing, I think you can dig deeper knowing that each hard earned dollar will then turn into hard work that could help my son and others like him," Kristin Murner said.

Murner will be one of 30,000 official entrants ready to run the 123rd Boston Marathon Monday.