Sparta runner to return to finish Boston Marathon for charity

Carlson was running for charity at last year's race

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— Sparta native Matt Carlson is back to finish what he started.

Carlson will return to run the Boston Marathon on April 21 after his run last year was interrupted less than a mile from the finish line by the bomb blasts. He is running again to raise money for Perkins, founded in 1829 as the nation's first school for the blind.

Carlson is one of nine runners on the Perkins charity team who will pound the pavement from Hopkinton to Boston to raise around $45,000 for the Watertown-based nonprofit. All donations will fund Perkins on-campus, regional and international programs for people who are blind, deaf or visually impaired with additional disabilities.

At last year s Boston Marathon, Carlson had run 25.6 miles when the race was stopped. He is determined to go all the way this year.

"It's always been a dream of mine to finish the Boston Marathon," he said. "The celebration from your friends and family as you pass by near the finish line isn't something I experienced and can't wait for this year. I'm not going to let something so terrible get in the way of a life-long goal."

Carlson said he appreciates the opportunity to run again on Team Perkins.

"Even though I was given a waiver to run again this year without having to raise money, I still thought it would be great to continue to raise money for Perkins," he said. "It's been a fantastic experience that I'll always treasure and it feels great to be able to contribute to the success of Perkins."

Carlson works as program director at Radio Perkins, an internet radio station that features music and talk shows hosted by Perkins School for the Blind. The station uses special equipment adapted for people who are blind.

"I love the fact that I'm able to give back to the Perkins community in some way," he said. "Perkins has been one of the best experiences I could ever imagine. All the students are absolutely amazing and completely awe-inspiring. After everything that Perkins has given me, I'd love to be able to give something back."

Carlson is an employee of Berklee School of Music, a partner in the Radio Perkins project. Currently a resident of Boston's Brookline neighborhood, Carlson was born and raised in Sparta.

To support Carlson's marathon run and make a donation to Perkins visit http://www.perkins.org/supportperkins/special-events/boston-marathon/2014/matt-carlson.html.

Perkins is celebrating its 185 year of providing education, services and products to people who are blind, deaf or visually impaired with other disabilities.

Founded in 1829, Perkins works locally and globally, reaching more than 880,000 people each year in 67 countries.

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