Earlier this month, “06880” reported on Dan Geraghty’s upcoming half-marathon. The Staples English instructor, US Army Ranger School graduate and former 10th Mountain Division platoon leader was preparing to run 13.2 miles to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project — wearing his combat boots and 40-pound rucksack.
With typical determination, he succeeded. In fact, he exceeded his goals — in many ways. Here’s his report.
The run was a massive success. The Westport community — centered at Staples — offered the core funds of the $8,000 we raised.
Shaun Lowry — a former Marine, 6-3 and 230 pounds of pure muscle — called me out in the morning. He decided to run with a 60-pound ruck, so I had to meet the challenge. I “recovered” from that decision all week!
During the run, about 2 miles in, a runner with Down Syndrome began running with the crew. Ben — immediately nicknamed “Big Ben” by our group — was the highlight of the day for me.
Ben’s father, who was running with his son, told us that Ben was the 1st Special Olympian to complete a half-marathon. When we heard that, we decided to give Ben our only Wounded Warrior water bottle.
The response was overwhelming. Ben hugged and chest-bumped the 7 of us. He even walked for a while, holding hands with one of the guys.
The run seemed difficult, until that beautiful young man ran up with a wide smile. We cheered Ben on at the finish — he ran the last 300 meters at a full sprint.
The rains hit us right before the last mile — perfect timing. It made the rucks a bit heavier, but it was more important to be cool for the final “gut check” hill. As we climbed it, the crowd came to the fence overlooking us. They screamed and wailed on cowbells — it sounded like a rock concert.
Three quarters of the way up the hill John P. Byrne, my wounded buddy, began to sprint. We all followed him. At the crest my father passed John an American flag. We ran together, both holding the flag across the finish line.
John turned to me in the pouring rain. He said, “I think we did a good thing.”
Sorry, Dan. John was wrong. You, he — and your entire team — did a great thing.