Blind runner an inspiration for Philadelphia Marathon

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - November 19, 2010

It's the first high five award Mayor Michael Nutter has ever given to a Philadelphia Marathon runner, and surely a runner's high for Kathleen Boyle Wrigley.

"My physical strength has finally caught up with my inner strength, and I am so excited to run the streets of Philly," said Kathleen Boyle Wrigley.

That's because while Sunday will be her 7th full marathon, it's only her second since she underwent two brain aneurysm surgeries that left her legally blind.

Now living in North Dakota, Kathleen chose this year to finally hit the pavement in her native Philadelphia for two very powerful reasons.

"This coming February will be 20 years since Danny was taken from us, and I turned 40 this year," said Boyle.

In 1991 her brother, rookie Philadelphia police officer Danny Boyle was shot and killed in the line of duty. Sunday, she will wear his badge, and channel his bravery.

"Danny has been in my heart for 20 years, and I am excited to bring him home to Philadelphia," said Boyle.

Kathleen says it's her three little ones that gave her the biggest push.

"I remember my daughter asking me and she said 'I keep praying your sight will come back and you will be a normal mom', and I said I have to buck up because I have three kids who are looking to me for guidance," said Boyle.

Kathleen is legally blind on the right side, which means on Sunday, she won't see anything on right. That's why she'll be running alongside a trainer, who will serve as her peripheral vision.

"Navigating through that many people poses a threat not only to me and my safety, but also the runners on my right-hand side and their safety," said Boyle.

Francesca Magri will help guide Kathleen to the finish line. And her kids have plans for that moment.

"We will be at the finish line saying, 'Yea! Go Mom', and maybe have some signs", said son Patrick Wrigley.

And they promise they will do it with more enthusiasm. This was just a warm-up.

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