The three runners were on a mission.
They were determined to run the 26.2 grueling miles of the Boston Marathon® – while raising money for children and young adults who receive services from Perkins School for the Blind.
Every step they took, from Hopkinton’s brightly colored yellow and blue starting line to the frenzied cheers of spectators at the Boylston Street finish line in Boston, brought them closer to that goal.
By the end of an unseasonably warm day on April 18, all three members of Team Perkins had completed the marathon, and collectively raised $25,000 for Perkins.
Joseph Metzger from Tampa, Florida, ran the marathon for his wife, who is legally blind without corrective lenses. Metzger, who has completed 25 previous marathons, finished in 4:34.
“This was my slowest marathon time ever, but I knew going in that my time would be slow,” he said. “During training, I had had a calf injury that would not go away and that limited my training.”
Still, Metzger was determined to reach the finish line.
“Running on behalf of Perkins kept me focused on finishing the marathon,” he said. “I knew that I needed to follow through on the commitment made to Perkins and the many generous donors who supported Perkins in my fundraising efforts.”
Dan O’Neil from Dedham, Massachusetts, also had to battle an unexpected injury. He ran the marathon for his nephews Daniel and Andrew, who attend Perkins School for the Blind.
“I hurt my back during the race but refused to quit,” he said. “I unfortunately had to walk most of the remaining eight miles, but I wouldn't change anything.”
O’Neill didn’t finish until 7:20 pm, but said the experience was unforgettable.
“I got the opportunity of a lifetime,” he said. “I believe in what Perkins does. It was a true honor to be a part of the Perkins team and be able to raise money for such a special place and to help my nephews and all their schoolmates get the programs they need.”
Eric Ferreira from Methuen, Massachusetts, ran the marathon for his son, also named Eric, who has a rare condition called Septo-Optic Dysplasia that causes blindness. The former marine finished the race in a better-than-expected time of 3:57.
“The highlight of the race was seeing our supporters along the route, whether it be my family and friends or strangers who were just cheering for the guy with the Perkins shirt on,” he said. “I felt honored to represent the school in such a historical event.”
Emily Goodman, manager of special events at Perkins, thanked the team for going the extra mile – and more – to support Perkins School for the Blind.
“This year’s marathon team did an amazing job, both raising funds for Perkins’ programs and raising awareness of blindness education,” she said. “We are so fortunate to have their support and dedication.”