During the 2023 Chicago Marathon, a remarkable moment unfolded as Sarah Bohan, a dedicated runner, sacrificed her chance at a personal best to rescue a stray kitten she discovered on the course. The heartwarming story took an even sweeter turn when, amidst the crowd of spectators along the roadside, she encountered Andrea Maldonado, who enthusiastically offered to provide a loving home for the kitten.
Sarah Bohan, the marathoner on the brink of achieving a record finish, made an impromptu decision during the race that truly demonstrated her character and her sponsorship by PAWS Chicago.
Choosing to forgo her pursuit of a personal best, Bohan halted her run when, within arm’s reach of the road’s edge, she spotted a tiny white face nestled under a pile of leaves. While there was a slim chance that she could have left the kitten there, hoping its mother would return to claim it, Bohan’s personal commitment to animal welfare, fueled by her own two rescue cats at home, led her to take a different path.
She decided to walk the remainder of the course, cradling the one-pound kitten in her arms. Along the way, she encountered her friend and fellow animal enthusiast, Gia Nigro, who joined Bohan in their quest to find a caring individual in the crowd of onlookers who could take the kitten, allowing them to continue their race.
Their journey led them to a barbershop in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, where they discovered a gathering of a family group. Andrea Maldonado, a mother of four, vividly recalled the unexpected encounter, saying, “We were enjoying ourselves on the sidelines, and suddenly, this young woman approached me with a kitten.”
PAWS Chicago, the rescue organization for which Bohan was running to raise funds, took to Instagram to express their desire to connect with Maldonado as a token of appreciation for her support of their runner and the stray kitten.
Maldonado was promptly informed of their generous offer and decided to take them up on it. She brought the little feline companion in for a thorough examination. Despite being underweight, he received a clean bill of health following vaccinations, microchipping, and a flea/tick treatment.
The once stray kitten, now affectionately known as "Casper" in his new home with the Maldonado family—comprising Andrea, her husband Tony, their children Emma, Elise, Evelia, and Enzo, as well as their two cats and one dog—became the focus of over 350 media stories in a multitude of languages.
"Our daughters adore him," Maldonado happily shared with Business Insider. "Our entire family adores him, and even our dog has taken to him."
Bohan completed the marathon in 3 hours and 33 minutes this year, and she's determined to return next year, fueled by the ambition to chase that elusive record once more.