NRP officer qualifies for Boston Marathon after being shot in the line of duty
After being shot at close range, a Niagara Regional Police officer refuses to slow down.
Neal Ridley developed a love for running after picking it up in his late 20s as a way to keep in shape. Craving a challenge, he completed a few Niagara Falls International Half Marathons before deciding to move onto the real thing.
Just as he was on the cusp of qualifying for the 2015 Boston Marathon, his life turned upside down.
"I finished my marathon in September in Erie, PA," Ridley recounts. "On Thanksgiving a month later I was shot in the line of duty in my home town of Pelham and it was a pretty serious injury I guess. I was shot through the shoulder and neck. I had some reconstructive surgery to my shoulder, I've lost some mobility in it. It literally knocked me off my feet, no pun intended. Picking myself up after that incident; it was numerous surgeries, mental health issues, Post Traumatic Stress."
In late 2016 Ridley was able to get back to what he loved: running.
"Running was always therapeutic, it was a time of meditation. It was a time of peace and just being outside in God's Country and just having that time to be by myself and collect my thoughts."
He tells CKTB from there, he just kept running.
In September of 2017 he went back to the Erie Marathon and, with his family and kids watching, posted a qualifying time.
"Even though it took me years to get there, this year I'll be running [The Boston Marathon] with my twin brother Vaughn, who also qualified."
He says he was inspired after reading The Long Run by New York firefighter Matt Long who learned to run again after a debilitating accident. Ridley also has his sights set on the Ironman in Arizona.
This year's Boston Marathon is on April 16th.
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