Finished the race…

Dorchester Reporter article on Michael’s Boston Marathon race!

A Dream Turns Real: Blindness no obstacle; marathoner finishes run

By Daniel Sheehan, Reporter Staff

April 18, 2019

Michael Besson approaches the Marathon finish line on Monday with his guide, Theresa Funk.

Photo by Marathon Foto

Dorchester resident Michael Besson completed his dream of running the Boston Marathon on Monday, finishing the 26.2-mile-long course in just over five hours. The blind, Haitian-born runner firsttold his inspirational story to the Reporteras he trained for the race last December.

At one point in his life, the 57-year-old Besson weighed as much as 500 pounds. But a lifestyle change to a plant-based diet spurred a dramatic weight loss and kindled in him a passion for fitness.

Painful childhood memories of being ostracized for his weight problem inspired him to run the marathon in support of The Play Brigade, a local organization dedicated to inclusion in sports and recreation for children with disabilities.

On Tuesday, the day after running the race, Besson said he was sore but “overwhelmed with gratitude and joy.” He thanked his wife, Nalida, and his guides, Julianna Malloy and Theresa Funk, for helping him achieve his dream.

“During this long marathon training season,” he wrote in a statement, “I learned that when someone wants to accomplish something, it calls for a lot of discipline and sacrifice. You also have to have a passion for what you are doing. Music and now running are my passions. When you have accomplished that goal, you feel a lot of emotions because you know you have worked very hard for it. That’s how I feel today.”

According to Besson, the positivity of the other runners and supporters made the grueling race easier. “When the bus brought us from Boston to Hopkinton, I saw how far away it was and even slept on the bus, but I told myself that I could run this distance. When I got off the bus and went into the tent in Athletes Village, I was happy because so many people appreciated me and my journey and were already congratulating me.

“When it was time for me to run, I started with a smile even though I knew it was a long route…so many people along the route were clapping and encouraging everyone and yelling my name because my second guide, Theresa, had my name written on her shirt, and that gave me extra energy. Even my fellow runners were encouraging me. I felt great. When I ran across the finish line I was so happy because I felt like my dream was accomplished.”

According to Besson’s wife, Nalida, he plans to write a book about his life and the journey to his marathon experience.

The Boston Marathon is April 15, 2019 and Michael is ready, by God’s grace

Right on Hereford, left on Boylston Street.

With less than a week before the Boston Marathon, I keep thinking about this final route and tearing up. I’m so happy for and proud of my husband Michael (Bib number 23952) who’ll be running for inclusion of children with disabilities representing The Play Brigade charity. Next Monday, will mark the end of a journey toward a longtime goal but in many ways, the beginning of a new journey. Please keep him in your prayers.

Right on Hereford, left on Boylston. I’ll be waiting for you to cross that finish line with your guide Michael! ❤️

Michael’s Play Brigade Fundraiser page:

Focusing on what is good

Day 70:

“Fix Your Mind On What Is Good”

~With so much going on these days and with all the challenges that I face, today’s devotion was everything!

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8–9”

“In the struggles and the busyness of everyday life, staying focused on the Lord is certainly a challenge. Be disciplined to make time every day to pray and reflect on God and His goodness. This is the work of the heart and the path to true recovery and freedom. Today, I encourage you to take your eyes off of food, the scale, the diets, and the insane weight goals. Then, fix your mind on what is true and honorable, right and pure, lovely and admirable.

If you really want to live in peace, start focusing on the health of your soul. Don’t be caught up in the insanity and busyness of the world, and don’t be overwhelmed by discouragement when it comes your way. Fixing your thoughts on the heart of God is a choice you have to keep making. I hope you will put one foot in front of the other today: Practice, practice, and practice some more, and you will find your piece.”

Excerpt From


Dr. Rhona Epstein

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Michael’s Fundraisers for The Play Brigade

Michael’s Fundraisers for The Play Brigade

My husband, Michael, is blind, and he is raising money to run the Boston Marathon in 2019 for inclusion of kids with disabilities in play, recreation and sports for The Play Brigade. All profits will go towards Michael’s goal. Please share and support as much as you can. Thank you!

Michael’s Play Brigade Fundraiser page. An organization that empowers with inclusion.

Play Brigade Info:

Braille Run 🏃🏽 🏃🏿‍♀️ T-shirts! Available for a limited time.

Get your braille/print “run” unisex t-shirt in various colors. All profits will go to Michael Besson’s Boston Marathon Run for The Play Brigade, supporting inclusion.

Please share with your networks to support The Play Brigade. Thank you!

Kids’ tees:

Adult Tees:

Nalida’s Etsy Shop for braille “run” Jewelry

Run Your OWN Race: “Run And Not Be Weary”

Run Your OWN Race: “Run And Not Be Weary”

I started the virtual 2019 The Bible Series runs by doing the “Run and not be weary” 3.1 miles/5K. My husband also participated and as he’s training for the Boston Marathon, he did 11 miles yesterday with his guides and teammates. I’m much slower. They are much faster. They are increasing their mileage each week but with the vigorous running schedule and training they are doing, they also are getting faster and more efficient.

I finished in 49 minutes and 37 seconds and I am not concerned with speed and a time. I have a full-time job outside the home and a full-time job inside the home as a mom of three great kids who happen to have several disabilities and chronic health conditions. I’m not training for anything in particular. l’m exercising for my mental and physical health. And I’m supporting my husband in every way I can as he takes the many hours needed weekly to train for the marathon. I took care of my kids, got lunch prepped for when my husband got back from his long run, and started walking with several intervals of running. I ran and walked also to support a charity that receives part of the proceeds for each run and that helps hungry children globally. And I got a COOL eagle metal with the Isaiah 40:31 scripture on it.

So walk or run your own race. It’s not a competition with what other people are doing. The focus is on improving ourselves and nourishing our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible Series