Today’s news:

Astorian races for grandpa

A 22−year−old office manager from Astoria will run in the grueling Boston Marathon next month to raise money for cancer research after her grandfather died from the disease last fall.

Marie Barnett, who lives in Astoria and works as an executive assistant and office manager for a Manhattan hedge fund, has been training since December to run in the 26.2−mile race April 20 as part of a team raising research money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

She said she will participate in the marathon for the second time this year and her father, David Barnett, who has run the race for the past decade, will join her.

“When you know so many people are thinking of you and supporting your cause, it’s easy to get motivated and inspired,” she said.

The Dana Farber Marathon Challenge has placed runners in the marathon since its inception in 1989. The program was founded by Dana Farber trustees Wayne and Delores Weaver, who created the challenge to honor her mother, who died from cancer.

The marathon, now in its 113th year, will begin in Hopkinton, Mass., and end in Boston. An estimated 500 Dana Farber runners will take part in the marathon in an attempt to raise $4.85 million.

Barnett, who graduated from Oberlin College last year and moved from Boxborough, Mass., to Queens in the fall, said her father became involved with the marathon in 1998 when her uncle was diagnosed with cancer.

Barnett ran the race for the first time last year after her grandfather, Phil Barnett, was diagnosed and she decided to run again after he died last fall.

“I was really inspired by his battle,” she said. “He knew I was going to run.”

Barnett, who has been running track and cross country since she was in seventh grade, qualified for this year’s race with her three−hour−27−minute running time from last year’s race. She said she hopes to chop several minutes off her time this year.

For the past three months, she has been running 40 hours to 50 hours per week and, for the next several weekends, she plans to take 21− or 22−mile jogs around Astoria Park or Central Park. She has also been training with coaches and members of the Nike Central Park track club.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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