Brookline Doctor is Racing for a Cause - PDF Print

Of the elite runners competing in the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon, many aim to qualify for other races, some want beat personal records, and others want to be able to say they’ve completed the trek over Heart Break Hill.

But Doctor Martin Pollak has a very different motivation: Dr. Pollak is not racing to beat the clock, but racing to beat kidney disease.

Dr. Pollak is the Chief of the Nephrology Division at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Pollack and his research team have made great strides in the battle against kidney disease.

Two years ago, they discovered a crucial link between African-American ancestry and an increased chance of being diagnosed with kidney disease. The genetic differences discovered by Dr. Pollak indicate that African-Americans are five times more likely to be diagnosed with Kidney disease than other patients. The breakthrough was monumental, but Dr. Pollak has no intentions in slowing down.

“When I found the out the development offices were giving out four to five marathon spots for fundraising purposes, I thought the race would be an interesting challenge for myself,” Dr. Pollak recalled.

Pollak plans to use this fundraising opportunity to further his kidney disease research. His ultimate goal is to bring the rate of kidney disease in African Americans down to the same rate as it is for those of European-American descent. 

So, why the Boston Marathon? What compelled Dr. Pollak to put himself through the months of extensive training and sacrifices? Well, if one thing is for certain, Dr. Pollak seems open and excited to challenge himself especially for the good of his cause.

“This race is big enough to be a real challenge, but wasn’t too outrageous that I felt I couldn’t actually meet or complete the challenge, that’s important. Also, the past nine months of training have been great for my health--I feel great.”

Dr. Pollak seemed excited to race for the cause and believes that, after recently turning fifty and reaching a milestone, the Boston Marathon was something he needed to complete.

While he is very confident Dr. Pollak admits there are some pre-race nerves and jitters but with his friends, family, and hopefully some members of his lab team cheering him on bib number 24922 should cross the finish line with no problem.

To donate to Dr. Pollak and support his fight against kidney disease, visit He has already raised over $6,000. 


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