Around this time last week Gerald “Curly” Carey of South Dennis, was in the midst of running his 14th Boston Marathon since 1999 when he first participated in the historic race to honor his mother who had died two years earlier.
How did this year compare to the others he has run? “This one was no doubt the grand daddy of them all, even ahead of the first one I ran for my mother,” he said.
And when he crossed the finish line, just under five hours and 30 minutes, he knelt down and kissed the ground before greeting his wife Kelly. “To be honest it was very emotional. That is the one word I have to use,” he said. “Running up and taking a left on Boylston Street and having thousands and thousands of people cheering you on it felt like this was my Super Bowl.
“Even though I didn’t win the race I was part of one of the biggest days in the history of Boston sports,” he continued.
Last year Carey was one of the more than 5,000 runners unable to finish the race after two bombs went off near the finish line, killing three spectators and injuring 260 people.
This year there was no such tragedy though for Carey there were several difficult moments that included running past Engine Company 33 and Ladder Company 15 on Boylston Street, the station that lost Lieutenant Edward Walsh Jr., 43, and firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33, while battling a blaze in a Beacon Street apartment building in March.
Earlier in the race Carey passed Mr. Kennedy’s longtime girlfriend Sarah Wessman, who had been planning to run the marathon with her boyfriend. She was wearing two bibs – one for her and one for Mr. Kennedy. “I talked to her briefly in Wellesley,” Carey said. “That was one of the most emotional parts of the day outside of the finish line.”
For Carey the race was a way to accomplish what he could not last year – finish the grueling 26.2 mile course – while raising funds for the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council’s (DYECH) Project Prevention program.
HAC oversees the program which assists Cape Cod residents struggling with their bills, ensuring they will not find themselves without a home. As of last week he had raised close to $4,000, adding to the roughly $50,000 he has raised for Project Prevention since 2001.
The money raised is the capstone for what he termed “a great day… It is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”