Grafton man completes virtual Boston Marathon while on crutches

WORCESTER, Mass. — Bill Murphy successfully completed 26.2 miles on the track at his alma mater, Worcester State University, in the virtual Boston Marathon...while on crutches.

“There’s no book on crutching marathons. There isn’t,” he said.

The 50-year-old Grafton man was set to run his fifth Boston Marathon, but a torn quadriceps muscle and surgery sidelined him. With his doctor’s blessing, Murphy crutched 104 laps. He started in the dark at 4 a.m. Sunday and finished in 6 hours and 17 minutes.

“He was somewhere in range of a world record. It’s pretty remarkable what he did,” said Sean Holleran, the CEO of Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

According to the Guinness World Records official site, Murphy was 7-minutes off the world record for the fastest marathon on crutches. But more importantly, he raised money to help grant wishes for children with critical illnesses through Make-A-Wish Foundation Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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“It shines a spotlight on our wish children and our families, especially now because they are more vulnerable and isolated than ever due to COVID,” Holleran said.

Murphy said he was excited about all the support he had, especially when he was joined by 13-year-old Bethany Parke, a Make-A-Wish recipient from Rochdale, Mass., for the final two miles.

“She said, ‘I think it’s really cool what you’re doing, you’re doing so much and I’m so happy.’ I was like, ‘I think it’s really cool you’re here,’” Murphy said.

According to Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Bill Murphy alone has raised and donated more than $350,000 over the last 16 years to the foundation and is responsible for more than 35 wishes. Donations to Murphy’s fundraising can still be made at and updates on his experience are available on his Facebook page.

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