Bryan Morseman runs marathons because he loves it, and because he has to.
Moresman, 29, finished fifth in the Pittsburgh Marathon Sunday. For that he pocketed $1,500. As the second American to finish, he earned another $3,500. It was his biggest running payday ever, twice that of any other, and it will provide assistance in the battle Moresman’s 10-month-old son, Leeim, is waging against Spina Bifida, a birth defect of the brain and spine.
Morseman lives in Bath, N.Y., about an hour south of Rochester, with his wife, Sarah, another son, 2-year-old Alden, and Leeim. He works as a precious metals clerk for a dinnerware manufacturer. Health insurance only partly covers the exorbitant cost of Leeim’s medical care, which began with prenatal surgery to repair a hole in his spine.
“Insurance is never enough,” Morseman said. “There’s never enough money to do the kind of stuff he’s going to need in the future. It’s not like he’s going to wake up tomorrow and not have Spina Bifida. And the possibility of not being able to walk the rest of his life.”
Moresman’s family gathered near the finish line on the Boulevard of the Allies, waiting for dad to finish another day’s work. It’s never a long wait. Last week he won the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon in Louisville, his 24th career victory. Two weeks earlier, he won a marathon in Lancaster.
In March, Moresman ran two marathons in successive days — three in eight days — and won them all.
“He’s amazing,” his wife said. “I call him a machine. There’s no other way to explain the way his body holds up.”
“I’ve definitely been racing more because of him,” Moresman said of his son. “But it’s also pushing me to propel better in each race I’ve run in. It’s basically given me a new life for running, pretty much.”
Moresman won all six of his marathons this year before Sunday. This was “a much tougher course,” he said, but he was more than happy to finish in the top five against first-rate competition.
“I don’t run 150 miles a week and then drop it a couple of weeks before like normal, other people do,” he said of his training regimen. “I don’t really taper much, if at all. With (races) a week apart, you can’t really do much training for the next.
“So you’ve got to kind of work that out. For some reason, I’m just able to just maintain from the next one to the next one.”
He added: “It’s something I was born to do, I guess. For some reason God gave me a gift. It’s just given this drive, since my son was born with the disability. You might as well strike while the iron’s hot.”
Moresman said his next marathon probably will be in Buffalo in three weeks.
He will train, but doesn’t mind not having to travel.
“It’s going to be nice,” he said.