By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Brockton resident Irma Walat cruised past the finish line and talked to old friends and some new ones as she helped bring more awareness to domestic violence during the Family and Community Resource’s “Hearts and Hands for Hope” 5K run/walk last Saturday.
At 71, Walat (Pictured, second photo) has been running road races without fear for 17 years after she escaped the fists and words of her abusive and alcoholic husband—a man she married when she was 18, spent decades with raising two children and did not try to leave until she was 54.
“My life is very good and happy, now,” said Walat, a well-known and well-liked member of the Colonial Road Runners, an association of runners from across Massachusetts who Walat joined in 1978 when she began running to relieve the stress in her marriage and home life.
Walat said when she was 54 their relationship—marred by years of brawls and booze—took a malevolent turn for the worse and she began to fear for her life.
“I was young, I was naïve,” Walat said. “There was a lot of drinking…it was a very bad marriage,” she said.
As luck would have it, as she sought help to leave, a miracle of sorts happened.
“He got sick,” Walat said. “He got lung cancer and died—thank god,” she said laughing heartily as she told her story.
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