EXTRA MOTIVATED: Fall River man running Boston Marathon to benefit Boston Children’s Hospital

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By GREG SULLIVAN

In the past few years, former Durfee football players has shed 90 pounds

FALL RIVER – Matt Medeiros admits that competitive distance running can be a very selfish endeavor. How far can I go? How fast can I go? How high can I finish?

So, he’s finding it rewarding and refreshing that his participation in next month’s Boston Marathon isn’t all about himself. The Fall River resident, a former Durfee High School football player, has bonded with a 7-year-boy with cerebral palsy and will be running Boston to raise money for Boston Children’s Hospital.

Interestingly, if you backtrack six years or so, Medeiros would have struggled to run 26.2 yards, never mind 26.2 miles. And the only marathon he would have considered competing in would have been a taco-eating marathon.

Yes, things were spiraling weight-wise out of control for Medeiros. At Durfee, his weight was 215 to 220 pounds. After graduating high school in 2013, his activity level dropped. His fast-food intake (1 or 2 meals per day) increased, his weight following closely.

One memorable day in 2013, the scale threw a scary number at him. 260. As in pounds. Medeiros had had enough. “I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something,’” he said.

The biggest something was going cold turkey on the McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, KFC, etc., unless it’s for a salad. “I had to change what I was doing,” he said. “To this day. I don’t eat fast food. I try to make everything home prep.”

Eating better, the 5-foot-10 Medeiros felt better. He started exercising. He rather rapidly went from couch potato to workout fanatic. He has settled in at 170 pounds.

A consumer underwriter for Bridgewater Credit Union, Medeiros has taken a special liking to trail racing. He has a 50-miler to his credit and has his eyes set on running 100-kilometer and 100-mile trail races. For conventional road races, he’s done everything from 5k to half-marathon.

A full marathon wasn’t on his radar screen until John J. Howard, president and CEO of Merrimack Valley Credit Union (which owns BCU), asked him if he’d be interested in running the Boston Marathon, as part of the CU Kids @ Heart organization.

Medeiros didn’t struggle much with the decision to take his boss up on the offer.

Through CU Kids @ Heart, a national credit union collaborative fundraising program, Medeiros met Vraj Purohit of Burlington, the seven-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, and Vraj’s parents, Nirav and Bhavina. Medeiros and Vraj have already teamed up for a fundraiser at Medeiros’ gym and, according to Tessa Kurman Ali of Montagne Communications, have raised $10,000 for Boston Children’s Hospital.

Vraj has been treated at BCH. So has Medeiros. In third grade, Medeiros spent several weeks at BCH recovering from a severe asthma attack.

Medeiros said his Boston Marathon training has consisted of 35 to 50 miles per week. His goal is to finish the race in less than four hours.

Along the way, Medeiros said, he and the Purohits have grown very close.

“I was expecting something but not as much as it’s been,” he said. “I feel like they’re my own family.”