Kaitlyn Kiely and he boyfriend, Matt Wetherbee, had long dreamed of running the Boston Marathon as a team. Two years ago, however, Wetherbee became paralyzed from the neck down in an accident during a pick-up basketball game.
Kiely ran the marathon by herself in 2017, but after suffering leg cramping, she set her sights higher for 2018. Kiely decided that she would once again run the marathon, and she planned to do it with Wetherbee by her side.
Although the couple missed an entry deadline to be considered in the athletes with disabilities category for the official race, they didn’t let that stop them. A week before the marathon (which takes place April 16), Kiely ran the entire 26.2 mile-route while pushing Wetherbee in a racing chair. They received a police escort and were cheered on by the likes of former Boston Bruins hall of famer Ray Bourque. They finished the race in five hours and 28 minutes. In order to prepare for their unique journey, Kiely trained by pushing a chair filled with bags of salt.
“It’s scary, I’ve never pushed him before this long, so I’m excited,” Kiely told CBS Boston. “He hasn’t done a lot of runs with me in the chair but I love just looking down and seeing his head there and just know that he’s there the whole time. It makes me feel like I can’t stop.”
Here’s the dramatic and emotional moment when they crossed the finish line:
— Adam Liberatore (@bostonTVguy) April 9, 2018
The couple partnered with Hotshot, which sells a product to treat the muscle cramping that sidelined Kiely’s run last year, to raise awareness for Journey Forward, the facility where Wetherbee is going through rehabilitation. Hotshot donated $25,000 to Journey Forward on the couple’s behalf.
This short video provides a brief glimpse into the couple’s inspiring journey:
“Nothing can stop us, not even a spinal cord injury,” Wetherbee told WCVB.
Congratulations to this amazing couple on their awesome accomplishment!