Keller had a hometown hero to root for at this year’s Boston Marathon.
Jay Blakey, 56, joined thousands of other runners at the world’s oldest annual marathon April 21. He said he started running as a 50th birthday present to himself.
“I woke up one day and decided I wanted to get back into shape,” he said.
For the past six years, Blakey has run in several other marathons and has become an outspoken advocate for healthy lifestyles, daughter Kaitlyn Blakey said.
“I’m so proud of him,” she said. “It’s cool to see him light up about it — it’s a special thing not everyone gets to be a part of.”
This is his first year in the marathon. Jay said he was accepted as a part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Research Institute Team, a well-known treatment facility in Boston. After joining the team he raised more than $10,000 for the institute.
Kaitlyn attributes his fundraising successes to his reputation in the city, and his dedication to his dad, who died of cancer last year.
“It's also close to his heart, given the events of last year at the marathon,” she said. “My dad is a great patriot who is always scanning the newspaper for a chance to stand on the curb of a church with an American flag after a military funeral in the area.”
Jay said although running in the marathon has not been a lifelong dream, it’s something he’s admired for several years. The marathon is on Massachusetts’ Patriots’ Day this year, which Jay says is a perfect coincidence.
“Running in this event on that day shows resilience from those people who terrorized it last year,” he said. “What better way to celebrate our country and what a great opportunity for any runner.”