The Bandit Band Member of the Boston Marathon
“Hey, didn’t I see you singing a ZZ Top song back there?”
“Oh, the Marathon’s coming up on Monday, I think I’ll run it.” Cheever was a bandit runner as a kid, jumping in and running for about six miles before stopping at The Chicken Bone to watch the trained runners go by. He finally got the chance to officially run the marathon in 2013.
Cheever’s oldest son has autism and attends the Nashoba Learning Group out of Bedford, MA. Each year, the school receives bibs for the Boston Marathon and after getting an email about registering to run, Cheever thought, “Well if I click on this now, this is going to change my life.”
He would actually have to train for this marathon.
Aside from bandit running, Cheever never considered himself an athlete, but definitely a musician. He was the front man of Controlled Aggression as the lead singer and bass player for about ten years, performing with the likes of Staind, Nullset, and even Godsmack. As someone with such a passion for music, it’s funny that he doesn’t listen to it when he runs. In fact, he doesn’t even keep his phone with him.
“Everybody thinks because I’m in a band that I want to listen to music when I run, but I don’t like to listen to music when I run. I just like to listen to the birds that you wouldn’t hear if you were plugged into electronics.”
Cheever was unplugged at the 2013 Boston Marathon and enjoyed the noise of the crowd, he high-fived sign-holding family members outside of TJ’s in Ashland as he made his way to the 6 Mile Moment. While running down Waverly street, he knew his friends that make up the band Tester were performing in the MediaBoss Television parking lot and decided to hop on stage with them, “I don’t think they were surprised when I jumped off and jumped up on stage. I sang two thirds of [Sharp Dressed Man] and I was just kind of like, ‘I gotta go!’ And I jumped back on the road and ran.”
Unfortunately, Cheever wasn’t able to finish in 2013 due to the tragedy at the finish line. He and his running buddy from Nashoba Learning Group were almost in Boston when looks of concern began to show on fellow runners who had their phones and spectators, “We had no where to go, we weren’t going to get off the road and hop in our cars and drive away. We just, kind of continued to run, looking for updates from people on the side of the road, or a police officer.” Cheever and his friend safely made it home hours later.
In 2014, Cheever was given a bib for the Boston Marathon from the Nashoba Learning Group again (everyone who wasn’t able to finish in 2013 had the opportunity to run in 2014). Happy to have the rare second chance, Cheever ran down Waverly with his friends and family cheering him on again, this time to the finish. He did, however, make one stop along the way.
“I just wanted to say hello to them, they weren’t even in the middle of playing. When (lead-singer) Tony saw me he was like, ‘Hey let’s do a song!’ and I said, ‘Are you ready?’ and he said, ‘We’ll be ready right now!’”
Cheever said performing with Tester for a second year was a lot of fun, especially watching other runners turning their heads towards the stage and realizing that it was one of them up there.
While performing in the 6 Mile Moment was a huge highlight for Cheever, running down Boylston with the finish line in sight was a moment he said you’d have to experience to understand.
“That last corner was everything, ‘Ah this is what I ran for.’ Everybody’s a rock star in that last ¾ of a mile stretch.”
Check out Brendan’s bandit performance in our highlight reel from last year!
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