Guided by Cheers, Anthony Butler to Run New York City a Third Time


In the last four years, Anthony Butler has run 20 races with New York Road Runners, including the TCS New York City Marathon in 2016 and 2017.

The 30-year-old social worker from the Bronx will make his third straight journey through the five boroughs on November 4. It’s an impressive feat for any runner and a truly amazing accomplishment for one who is blind.

A Reason to Run

Butler lost his vision in 2008, when he was shot in the head during an altercation on the street. Following his recovery, he linked up with Achilles International, an organization that helps people with disabilities participate in mainstream athletic events. Butler runs every race with the help of Achilles guides, who clear a path and describe the scenery around him.

The support from runners and spectators during last year’s TCS New York City Marathon blew Butler away.

He ran without his name visible, just so he could get a sense of how many people in the city actually knew him. The answer: a lot.

“The support was overwhelming,” said Butler. “I started crying at mile 24. It was so cool to think of where I came from and what I’m doing now.”

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Five Borough Block Party

Although he’s used to hearing cheers all the way from Staten Island to Central Park, Butler said Brooklyn is his favorite borough to run through. “There’s a point where I can’t even hear my guide,” he added. “The DJs are booming and the streets are going crazy. It’s fun. You just stop and dance at that point. At the eight-mile mark, I’m definitely going to bust some dance moves.”

Over the years, Butler has run races in Paris, Budapest, and Oslo and he’d like to compete in the Comrades Marathon in South Africa someday. Next year, he’ll take part in the Sunbelt Bakery Ironman 70.3 in Chattanooga, TN. But no matter what race Butler competes in, the TCS New York City Marathon will always be his favorite.

“I’m going to run this race until my legs physically can’t carry me,” he said. “I’m going to keep going. This is the best marathon. It’s the biggest—that creates some challenges—but the atmosphere is worth it. Last year, I did five marathons, but I always do this one the fastest because of the support.”