For three Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies, running in the 113th Boston Marathon on Monday was the experience of a lifetime.
“I’ve been in so many marathons and this has been the most incredible experience I’ve ever had,” Cpl Dave Shreeve Jr. said Tuesday from Boston. “Nothing beats this.”
Shreeve, along with Sgt. Dan McDonald and Sgt. Paul Cabral, were among more than 26,000 runners from around the world who traversed the marathon’s windy and hilly 26.2-mile course from Hopkinton center to Boylston Street.
“It was cold – 31 degrees in the morning and 40 (degrees) when the race started and 25 to 30 mph winds in our faces,” said McDonald, who works in the Crime Prevention Bureau. “It was unbelievable to see tens of thousands of people in front of and in back of you and along the finish line as far as the eye could see.’’
It was the first time running the Boston Marathon for the deputies. They all finished the race.
Shreeve, 45 and the more seasoned runner of the trio, finished in the top half of the pack. He toured the course in 3 hours, 50 minutes and 12 seconds, good for 13,136 overall.
Cabral, 41, finished the course in 4 hours, 23 minutes and 52 seconds for 19,174th place, while McDonald, 42, finished in 5 hours, 30 minutes and 47 seconds for 22,448th place.
The deputies never had any doubt they’d complete the course, though Cabral said he had a few tense moments while maneuvering the hills.
“When I got to Mile 16 my quadriceps were pounding,” Cabral said. “Dave gave me some Advil and soon after I did start feeling better.”
Cabral, who is from Dartmouth, Mass., also drew inspiration from a spectator, a Boston College student who had painted himself head to toe in the school’s colors.
“I walked right up to him and told him, ‘You kept me going. I probably couldn’t have run faster out there without you.”
As soon as Cabral, who works out of the Golden Gate Estates substation, crossed the finish line, he pulled out his cell phone and called his wife Krissy back home.
“I said, ‘Hey, listen to this,’ and I held up my cell phone and it was just the roar of the crowd for 40 seconds,” Cabral recalled. “I said, ‘Can you hear that?’ And she said, ‘That’s incredible.’’’
The deputies arrived and left the race in style in a caravan of buses filled with other law enforcement officers escorted by the Boston Police Department. The Collier deputies had nothing but praise for the Boston PD, which got them into the race via a waiver in exchange for their raising money for police charities.
“The Boston Police Department has been just phenomenal,’’ said McDonald. “They treated us like elite athletes.”
After the race, the three celebrated in a low-key fashion, having dinner at their hotel before turning in early. They also splurged on race T-shirts and jackets, but only after finishing the race. “We were a little superstitious,’’ remarked McDonald.
They’re saving their celebrating for tonight when they take in a Red Sox game before heading back to Collier County on Wednesday.
They’re already looking ahead to next year’s Boston Marathon.
“I’m going to do it for sure,” said Shreeve, who works in CCSO’s SHOCAP unit, which monitors serious habitual juvenile offenders. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”