Running Strong: Dover firefighter honors 2 who died in line of duty
Derick Schrempf has never run a marathon. But next week, the Dover firefighter will tie on his sneakers and run 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston, a distance he's never tried before.
"To me it's the world's greatest race. Everyone around the world fights to come here," Schrempf said.
Though he never met them, he's running in honor of Edward Walsh and Michael Kennedy. Both were killed last year while fighting a nine-alarm fire in Boston's Back Bay.
Schrempf's marathon team has raised about $300,000 for the "Last Call Foundation" so far. The foundation was set up by Kennedy's mother to help purchase safety equipment for firefighters.
"We're very proud of Derick," said Lieutenant Craig Chabot. "He has really worked hard and gone above and beyond what anyone else here has done as far as preparing for something like this."
Risking his life on the job isn't something Derick wants to think about.
"I hope it never happens to me," Schrempf said. "I don't think when I leave my house it could be the last time I see my daughter and wife."
The marathon bombings two years ago strengthened Schrempf's resolve to run this world-famous race.
Today, authorities outlined their security plans for next week: surveillance cameras have been set up along the entire Boston route, bags will be searched and more streets around the route will be closed to traffic. But Derick refuses to let that deter him.
"The terrorists want you to be afraid," Schrempf said. "And I'm not gonna let anyone beat me up. I'm not going to be afraid. Everybody's got their guard up. Security down there is astronomical."
The horrible winter weather, mixed with still raw memories of the bombing will make this year's running of the marathon more difficult, but also that much more important.