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Brian Boyle now is focusing his efforts on giving back to those who have supported him along his journey back to life.

It was in 2004 that Boyle was in a near-fatal car accident in which he lost 60 percent of his blood. Boyle ended up in a coma on life support for more than two months.

Boyle, now a spokesman for the Red Cross, needed 14 operations and 36 blood transfusions and 13 plasma treatments. He lost more than 100 pounds and spent nearly three months in a wheelchair.

Boyle, passionate about his day-to-day journey, said that the same signs he had when he was dying are now the very signs that he is living.

Continuing his journey back to life, Boyle completed the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon on a hot April 16 day, finishing in 4 hours 4 minutes. It was Boyle’s ninth marathon overall.

Saturday and Sunday at Gambrill State Park in Frederick, Boyle will challenge himself in the CAT-100 ultramarathon where he will run 100 miles along the Catoctin Mountains on the Appalachian Trail.

Boyle ran the JFK ultramarathon, a 50-miler, last November but has never run such a distance in this type of terrain.

The 2004 McDonough High School and 2010 St. Mary’s College of Maryland graduate said he is taking it easy this week and recovering from the Boston Marathon, and tapering lightly for the trail run.

“I have been able to make a full recovery and will be celebrating my 26th birthday this month [Friday],” Boyle said. “To commemorate this occasion, I had the honor and privilege to run the marathon for Team Red Cross in honor of my blood donors, and for the volunteers, supporters, employees of the Red Cross, and for everyone who has been a part of my journey back to life.”

This year’s Boston Marathon was said to have been one of the most difficult races in the 116 years with the 90-degree weather. Several thousand people either decided not to run or started the race and eventually dropped out. Boyle was put in a situation in which he also became the Red Cross volunteer as well.

“When I sat down after crossing the finish line amongst the large crowds of people, a runner standing next to me fainted and I hurried to catch him and shield his head before hitting the ground. After 20 seconds or so, he started to regain consciousness when the medics rushed to him.”

Boyle is appreciative of the Southern Maryland community that has been there each step of the way and he thinks of that support with each step. Boyle has been running on the cross country trail at La Plata High School as well as the trail at Laurel Springs Regional Park in La Plata.

“A marathon or an Ironman may be run alone, but in no way is it an individual effort,” Boyle said.

There will be 25 runners taking on this next task and Boyle said he is going to have to really pay attention to his body for this run.

“This run is going to be more technical,” Boyle said. “It’s very hilly, on an elevation. After the 26 miles, I’m going to have to see how the body acts. I’ll wait and see how I need to adapt to how the body feels. I hope I’ve trained enough.”

Boyle met co-volunteer Mike Baisley, who saw a vision for his story, and the three-year friendship was formed. They, together, are encouraging all who can give blood to do so. Baisley said that Boyle is the most unique person he’s ever met and his motivation is relentless.

“With Brian’s support of the Red Cross, thousands of blood donations have been made, undoubtedly helping even thousands more local patients in need,” Baisley said. “His passion for life continues to motivate him for everything he does, whether it’s running a marathon or speaking to local soldiers. Brian’s determination to achieve the impossible is astonishing and his inspiration is contagious.”

To learn more about Boyle’s story, go to his blog at brianboyle.wordpress.com. To learn more about the Iron Heart project, go to www.redcrossblood.org/ironheart.

tshowalter@somdnews.com