Raynham’s Craig Schoaf earns award for courage at Boston Marathon

Raynham’s Craig Schoaf
Raynham’s Craig Schoaf

Schoaf honored for Marathon role

As a freshman at Emmanuel College, Craig Schoaf was excited to attend his first Boston Marathon in April. The finish line on Boylston Street is just 1.6 miles from campus.

But, as for many other spectators, the events of that fateful day had a profound impact on Schoaf, a 19-year-old runner from Raynham.

A member of Emmanuel’s cross-country and track teams, Schoaf left his dorm early enough to arrive at the finish line around 7 a.m. April 15 and secure a good position on Boylston Street.


He stayed for seven hours, cheering on the elite runners and those who followed, and departed shortly before the two bombs exploded.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Arriving back at campus, he learned of the terror that was unfolding in Copley Square. Concerned about the safety and well-being of 10 student-athletes from Emmanuel who were volunteering at the Marathon, he laced up his sneakers and sprinted back to the finish area.

Unsuccessful in his attempts to get through police barricades, Schoaf circled back to the Kenmore Square area, where runners had been stopped, and then eventually to the Berklee College of Music.

“I couldn’t find any of my friends,” said Schoaf, who later learned that they had all returned safely to Emmanuel.

“I went back to the Berklee area and there was a man trying to find his fiancée, who had run the race. I knew the runners were stopped at Kenmore, so I helped him find her”


Reunited with his fiancée, the relieved spectator let Schoaf use his cellphone to call his own family to let them know that he was OK.

The rest of the day, Schoaf provided assistance wherever he could, directing one dazed runner to her hotel in the North End, and walking a woman from Las Vegas the 2.2 miles to the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge.

In the meantime, Schoaf’s teammates, unable to locate him, feared for his safety.

“Craig is not the fastest runner but always works hard and is always conscientious of others so it doesn’t surprise me that’s what he did,” said Emmanuel track coach Tony DaRocha, who was volunteering on the vehicle escorting the lead runners that morning. “About eight of my athletes were volunteering doing blood testing with the elite athletes. As soon as I got home, my first concern was for my athletes. We located everyone except Craig. The whole team was worried, wondering where he was.”

Schoaf returned to the Emmanuel campus at 8:30 p.m., exhausted both physically and mentally.


“It was a life-changing experience,” said Schoaf, a four-year track and cross-country runner at Coyle and Cassidy High School in Taunton. “There were so many people from other states and other countries. A lot of them didn’t know the city at all and just needed someone to point them in the right direction.”

Word of Schoaf’s unselfish acts spread around campus, and Emmanuel nominated him for the NCAA Award of Valor, which recognizes “courageous action or noteworthy bravery” by persons involved with college athletics.

Now a sophomore, Schoaf has been named a recipient of the ECAC Award of Valor, which he will receive at a dinner Sept. 29. He has also been named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Sportsman of the Year for 2012-13.

“So many runners were prevented from finishing and didn’t know where to go that day,’’ DaRocha noted. “What he did was pretty cool.”

The day’s events have had a major impact on Schoaf.

A political science major, Schoaf intended to make a living in political communications. He now plans to train to become a police officer after graduating from Emmanuel in 2016. He also plans to run in the Boston Marathon in 2017.

“Everyone is faced with the hypothetical question of would you run toward disaster or away from it,” he said. “This made me realize I’m the kind of person who will run to it. I could have easily stayed in my dorm room, but I decided to put my shoes back on and head to the scene.

“I just want to help people.”

Here and there

The first goal of the season — and 14th career score — for Bridgewater State senior forward Craig Shadduck was the winning tally in the men’s soccer team’s 1-0 win over MIT. The Braintree High grad gave his team the lead five minutes into the game after converting a cross from the right side. Senior goalie Matt Bagley, also of Braintree, needed to make just one save to record his second consecutive shutout and the sixth of his career to help Bridgewater State even its record at 2-2. Bagley allowed just two goals in the Bears’ first four games. . . . Connor McInnis , a Massachusetts Maritime Academy sophomore from Duxbury, scored in the 21st minute for the game’s lone goal as the men’s soccer team recorded its first victory in the school’s 23-match series with rival Coast Guard (3-1-1) on Monday night. McInnis found the back of the net from 40 yards out for the host Buccaneers, who are off to their first 3-0 start in 12 years. Mass. Maritime had posted two 1-1 ties, in 1980 and 2004, and 20 setbacks against the Bears since 1976. . . . Mount Ida College senior linebacker Ned Cassidy of Brockton recovered a fumble that led to a touchdown and a 20-20 tie in an eventual 37-26 defeat to Plymouth State on Saturday. Cassidy led Mount Ida with seven solo tackles on the day.

John R. Johnson can be reached at