Bonnie Bence grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and still lives in St. Louis with her husband. They have four children: three sons and a daughter. Bonnie's involvement with Special Olympics comes from her son, Chris. Chris is the Senior Manager for the Business Department for Special Olympics Washington D.C.
Bonnie first got involved with children with intellectual disabilities when she was 15 years old. Her father was the person in her life who got her involved. He was very involved with the St. Mary's Special School in St. Louis. He would get Bonnie and her brother involved and helping out at the school. Her brother helped teach the children basketball, while she helped to teach them how to swim. A quote that Bonnie has remembered throughout her life is the poem God's Special Child.
Bonnie wasn't really a runner when she was growing up and started running for fun with her father around the time she was 15/16 years old. Bonnie has completed relays with all three of her sons, a triathlon, half marathons, as well as full marathons in the past. The idea of running the Boston Marathon came from one of her sons. He told her that if she could run a half marathon then she could definitely run the Boston Marathon because the only difference is that the length is doubled. He even told her that he would pay for her to run the Marathon. In 2008, Bonnie made the decision to start running the Boston Marathon and has continued to run it year after year. Her son Chris has been out watching her run the marathon route since the first time she ran in 2008. This year, Bonnie will have two of her sons, her nephew, family, and friends out on the marathon route cheering her on. Bonnie hopes to run the 2020 Boston Marathon with her son, Chris. This would also be special for her because at the 2020 Boston Marathon she will be 75 years old.