This is the third article in a weekly series in BWH Bulletin profiling runners participating in this year’s Boston Marathon with BWH’s Stepping Strong Marathon Team on Monday, April 16.

Liz Burke

Liz Burke was less than a half-mile from completing the Boston Marathon in 2013 when a police officer stopped her and hundreds of other runners to inform them of the tragedy that had just occurred at the finish line.

At the time, Burke was participating in her first marathon. She knew at that moment, however, it would not be her last.

“Prior to the bombing, I had been ready to be one and done – cross the marathon off my bucket list and never run another one again,” Burke said. “After everything that happened, I couldn’t not run it again. I wanted to cross the finish line for myself and all the people of Boston.”

Five years later, she is preparing to participate in her eighth marathon – running this year on behalf of BWH’s Stepping Strong Marathon Team to raise money for The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation.

A science writer in BWH’s Development Office since 2016, Burke frequently interviews Stepping Strong donors as well as physicians and researchers who are dedicated to transforming trauma research and care.

“I didn’t know until I started writing about Stepping Strong just how underfunded trauma care and research really are,” Burke said. “But they shouldn’t be because trauma can affect anyone at any time – it could be a car accident, mass-casualty event or sports injury.”

Having the opportunity to see and document the remarkable accomplishments of Stepping Strong has been an inspiring and rewarding experience, she added.

“The Reny family took an awful, dark day and turned it into a vehicle for bringing this important issue to everyone’s attention,” Burke said. “I feel so privileged to be running five years later in support of their work.”

The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation was established by the Reny family to honor the BWH caregivers who saved their daughter Gillian’s life and legs following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Five years after the tragedy, the center has raised more than $13 million to transform trauma research and care. Funds raised by members of the 2018 Stepping Strong Marathon Team support the center’s work. Meet other members of the team or make a gift by visiting Learn more about the center at