Mallory Sofastaii and her Marathon Man

Posted at 11:58 PM, Apr 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-06 02:12:59-04

Dad gave Mallory her first wheels.  He made sure she made a big splash everywhere, including this big pond called Baltimore.  If she had a paper cut or fell down, daddy was always there to kiss her boo-boo.

He was the man who taught her to crawl, walk and run.

"He taught me everything, I see so much of myself, he was the most compassionate person, loved animals, loved me for sure and my sister. But he was definitely a coach. I mean he gave me a passion for every sport that I've ever done. He got me into swimming when I was young, into soccer, helped me with dance, got me into running. I'd say probably out of high school he taught me tennis."

It was last July, right after a tennis match, the first love in Mallory's life went out for a bike ride, just like he always did.  No way a triathlete, a marathoner, a genius in computer science would hit a curb.

"Your dad has been in an accident. I don't know what's going on, I need you in the hospital."

After all those years of dad racing his little girl around the front yard, Mallory is suddenly racing to his bedside. 

"We just sat and waited and took two days to kind of figure out that he wasn't coming back."

Mallory keeps going back to a promise the two had made: run the Boston Marathon together.  For the first time, ever dad didn't keep his word, but Mallory will.

"I feel like I'm doing this for the both of us, not just for me. So to cross that finish line will just be a relief, just because I wanted to get there and I want to do it. And having this injury I felt like it set me back, but to do it for him means a lot and that's why I'm fundraising for the Red Cross as well it for him."

Everyday Mallory is at her desk or out on the streets, working for you, pounding out another "Matter for Mallory" for the news.  But putting words together to explain her loss is tough.  With her dad's thumbprint dangling around her neck and Boston Marathon marked up shoes, she trains one more day, with "Hotel California" playing in her head,

"That was his song, Hotel California, Last Dance of Mary Jane, Wild Horses, and I just play that and just feel like he's with me."

Up hills, down hills, Mallory will miss him but knows he will be with her in Boston on April 15th.

"He saw me through college, he saw me through high school, we had so many great memories together. I just wished he could have been there for my wedding, if I have kids. I thought about him teaching my kids how to skate, teaching them how to rollerblade but you know, I am lucky that I got to experience that with him."

So for 26 miles, Mallory will carry all the memories.  All the smiles.  The laughter of vacations.  The late night talks.  It's sad that dad crossed the finish line way before he should have, but she knows what her angel will be thinking on that April afternoon. "I like to think proud."

If you're interested in donating to the American Red Cross, click here.