78-year-old Birmingham runner hopes third time's the charm at Bo - CBS 5 - KPHO

78-year-old Birmingham runner hopes third time's the charm at Boston Marathon

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Dr. Sam Gillis in 2012. Source: WBRC video Dr. Sam Gillis in 2012. Source: WBRC video
Gillis is more determined than ever to finish the marathon. Source: WBRC video Gillis is more determined than ever to finish the marathon. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A Birmingham man is hoping the third time is the charm. Dr. Sam Gillis has run the Boston Marathon twice before, but through no fault of his own, didn't finish either time.

In 2012, Gillis was on the fifth mile when someone sprayed him with water. The person thought they were doing the runners a favor, since it was close to 90 degrees. However, Gillis was wearing a large amount of sunscreen and the water caused it to run.

"I inhaled it, and started to wheeze, to cough and couldn't breath. Got nauseated and actually vomited at the 5 mile mark," said Gillis. "I finished 15 miles but I couldn't go any further. So I quit that one."

Then in 2013, the marathon was stopped because of the bombings. Gillis was on mile 21 when a police officer blocked his path.

"He said you have to stop. I said but I'm running the marathon. And about that time 15 or 20 people had backed up behind us, and they pulled out their cell phones and knew why we were blocked," he said.

This year, Gillis is more determined than ever to finish the race. And what makes his journey even more impressive is that the Birmingham man is 78 years old. While most people his age are enjoying their retirement, Gillis is proving to everyone you're never too old to follow your dreams and never to old to be "Boston Strong."

"Like everybody else I got my shirt and it says, Boston we stand as one. So you have to go back," he said.

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