No Excuses for Him
He was off duty the morning of Sept. 11, but Michael Boyle, a firefighter with Engine Company 33 in Manhattan, jumped on the truck anyway when the alarms sounded.
"He cared a lot about the Fire Department," said his younger sister, Jeanne Boyle. "He was very simple in his ideas, but complex in his actions. And he could endure pain like no one I've ever known.
"I would ask him," Ms. Boyle remembered, " 'How do you run a marathon?' And he would say, 'Just get up every day and run.' " That's what Mr. Boyle did. He was a "no excuses" kind of guy, Ms. Boyle said.
A formidable athlete, Mr. Boyle, who was 37 and also worked for the firefighters' union, clearly had a soft side for his sister. She said he was protective, but from afar. Two years ago, they both ran in the Long Island Marathon, where Mr. Boyle, who lived in Westbury, N.Y., found her in the crowd and advised her to slow her pace for her own good. Then he disappeared. He finished at 3 hours 15 minutes.
"But I could see him reading this saying: 'That wasn't my good time! Tell them my good time!' " Ms. Boyle said; his good time, she said, was 3 hours 1 minute. "His goal was to break three hours in the city marathon this year. And he probably would have done it."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 21, 2001.