Dot runners go distance for great causes

Monday night, as the rain moved in from the south west and the early spring day turned from dry and windy into damp and blustery, Jim Keefe sat with his wife and a few friends at a table at Tavolo restaurant at Ashmont, picking at a plate of pasta, and looking fatigued, almost incoherent.

He also looked a bit, well, beatific. It was clear the day had been one of accomplishment.

Earlier that day – Patriots Day, 2009 – Keefe and his neighbor Charlie Maneikis had participated in that annual Boston ritual of endurance, perseverance, and self-flagellation. They had run the Boston Marathon. Twenty-six miles, 365 yards. And the two friends had each completed the run in about four and a half hours.

“You definitely need some inspiration, and the support of your friends,” a still-recovering Keefe mused in a phone conversation two days later. He had dedicated his first-ever marathon to the memory of Danny O’Hara, an Ashmont Hill neighbor who lost his life 10 years ago.

Prior to the run, Keefe explained, “Ten years ago this past December, Danny was tragically killed while heroically interceding in a domestic abuse incident in California. In saving a life, he sacrificed his own. He was in the prime of his life and had a wonderful future ahead of him.

“Among his many talents and abilities, he was a very gifted distance runner, having won ISL League and NEPSAC honors while in high school at Thayer Academy.

 “I’m taking this opportunity to raise money to heighten awareness of the issue of domestic violence. I am honored to be raising money in Danny’s name for Casa Myrna, a Boston-based non-profit that for 30 years has been providing shelter and services to women and children affected by domestic violence. Casa Myrna’s mission – outreach and education, hotline support, shelter and services – provides for critically needed resources. In Danny’s memory, and for the women and children who some day might depend on these services for their survival, please help me make sure these resources remain available.”

Keefe and his firm Trinity Financial are the developers of the Carruth building on Dot Ave. and last week they announced plans to dedicate a water feature at the north of the building end, adjacent Flat Black coffee shop, to the memory of Danny O’Hara. It will be a fitting memorial to the lost son of a wonderful Dorchester family.

Keefe’s running partner that day, Charlie Maneikis, ran to benefit St. Mark’s church. Another Dot runner, Scott McKay of Pope’s Hill completed his third BAA marathon this week, running to raise funds for the Liver Foundation.

“Even through fighting off a cold, battling a constant head wind, and running headfirst into my own personal wall that others refer to as Heartbreak Hill, I finished my third Boston Marathon,” McKay told friends in an e-mail. “On a day where no world records, US records, or even course records were set, as the 21,488th person to cross the finish line, I’m proud to say that I achieved my own personal record of 4:56:29 besting my fastest marathon time by 16 minutes.”

With the support of friends and business colleagues, McKay raised $7,650.

“Guess what? That’s another record for Team McKay,” he said, “beating last year’s total by $100. Thank you to each and every one of you for making it happen this year.”

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