Cboe's Tim Carey Suits Up to Fight Domestic Violence
Please note this story contains references to domestic violence, relationship abuse and death.
Tim Carey never considered himself a runner.
“I wasn’t fast, so I thought I was bad at it,” says Tim, Project Manager. “I later realized running is something you get better at the more you do it. It also turns out I’m not a sprinter, but I’m a great distance runner.”
In the last 10 years, Tim has run 12 marathons. He ran his twelfth in Berlin in September and is preparing to run his thirteenth in Chicago on October 9. This time, in honor of his friend Jenny.
Jenny was a part of Tim’s tight-knit group of high school friends, who all stayed in touch even as they grew up and followed different paths.
“Through college, moves to different cities, weddings and everything else, we all remained close,” Tim says. “Jenny was the small, quiet and, frankly, pretty unathletic, friend.”
Jenny became an epidemiologist, got married and moved to Wisconsin, where she became involved with the fitness movement, CrossFit. Eventually, she participated in an Ironman, which consists of a 2.4-mile (3.86 kilometer) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 kilometer) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile (42.2 kilometer) run.
“To see our small, unathletic friend become a literal Ironman was amazing,” Tim says.
As her fitness journey continued, Jenny decided to run the 2012 Chicago Marathon, while also leading a 100-day burpee challenge. Tim lived in Chicago at the time so of course he was on the sidelines to cheer her on. When she spotted Tim, she stopped so they could do a burpee together, then told him he had to run the marathon the next year.
“I didn’t really plan to follow through because I didn’t run,” he says.
But ultimately tragedy kick-started his unwavering commitment to keep his promise. Jenny had been a victim of domestic violence for some time, working hard on a plan to leave her abusive husband. As his abuse was accelerating, Jenny doubled down on her fitness goals.
“A few months after Jenny asked me to run next year’s marathon – the day before her divorce from her abusive husband was set to be finalized – he broke into her apartment and killed her,” Tim says.
Tim kept his promise to Jenny and honored her life by running in the 2013 Chicago Marathon. But he didn’t stop there. He then ran a memorial 5K, where he agreed to do an Ironman with Jenny’s friends from Wisconsin. Again, Tim kept his promise and completed the Ironman on Jenny’s birthday in 2016.
He then ran another marathon, and another, ultimately completing the 26.2-mile race more than 10 times. He even qualified for the Boston Marathon, which required him to finish the race in less than three hours—not bad for someone who “doesn’t run.”
“I initially started running in honor of Jenny, but I’ve worked through my grief and now I’m running for myself. It is the best gift she ever gave me,” he says. “Not only do I love the benefits of running but it’s shown me what I’m capable of. I used to believe an Iron Man was impossible but now that I’ve done it, I feel like I can accomplish anything.”
And it’s helped him set a good example for his three kids. “I’m not just telling them they can do anything they put their mind to, I’m actually showing them.”
Though running has taken on new meaning for Tim, this year he will run the Chicago Marathon once again in honor of Jenny, 10 years after she first ran the city’s marathon. His goal is to raise awareness for the National Domestic Violence Hotline by “suiting up” to fight domestic violence. That’s right – Tim plans to wear a full business suit to a marathon.
“It’s such an important cause and I figured no one else will be running in a suit so hopefully it raises a lot of awareness,” he says. “I’ll also stop and do a burpee with anyone who’s willing to do it with me – just like Jenny would.”
If you’ll be at the Chicago Marathon, be on the lookout for Tim! Learn more about his story and support his fundraising efforts on Go Fund Me.
If you or you someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 799-SAFE.