There are many ways to win a race.
For the two Perkins School for the Blind employees who ran the Boston Marathon® on Monday, finishing first or setting a new world record wasn’t the goal.
Their goal was to cross the finish line for children and young adults who are blind, deafblind or visually impaired.
On a day when the temperature felt more like July than April – reaching the mid-70s during the race – both members of Team Perkins achieved that goal by completing the marathon and collectively raising more than $15,000. The funds will help support Perkins’ educational programs and services.
Both runners said the race was more difficult than expected – but enormously rewarding.
Jennifer Brallier, who works as manager of strategic initiatives at Perkins, ran the marathon because she wants to help change the world for people who are blind. She raised $6,040.
Brallier said leg cramps slowed her down, but the crowd helped keep her going.
“People really do read the charities people are supporting on their jerseys,” she said. “You know this because of the random people that yell out, ‘Go Perkins!’ So, it’s a great feeling knowing that you’re able to represent a cause for 26.2 miles with the opportunity to show the name to thousands of people who may have never heard of Perkins before.”
Brallier finished the race in 4:10:44, and credits her mother and sister with helping her power through one of the toughest sections of the race. They were waiting at mile 17 to cheer her on.
“There’s no better feeling than knowing that people are always there to pick you up and believe in you when all you think you can do is collapse,” she said.
Lindy Pabian, who is a speech-language pathologist in Perkins’ Deafblind Program, ran the marathon to show support for the students she works with every day. She raised $9,556.
“Running for Perkins was such a wonderful experience,” she said. “I loved being able to talk to people about Perkins and its amazing programs during my fundraising events. Many of the students that I work with are motivated by music, so it was so fun to have songs on my playlist that reminded me of the students throughout all 26.2 miles.”
Pabian, who was battling a knee injury, finished the race with a better-than-expected time of 4:49:52, and said the crowd was the highlight of the race.
“Everyone was so energetic and excited to be watching the runners,” she said.
Emily Goodman, director of special events at Perkins, thanked both members of Team Perkins for their determination and courage.
“There are so many ways to support Perkins, and Jenn and Lindy chose one of the most challenging – running a marathon,” she said. “They’re an inspiration to everyone at Perkins, including our students, who are on their own journeys to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.”