4/1/14 - Running Boston for Martin
by Laura Neidig
IMM Communications & Marketing Coordinator
"No More Hurting People - Peace"
Peace is a lofty goal for an eight year old, but one that Martin Richard had.
Martin was killed on April 15, 2013 at the Boston Marathon bombings. "We established The Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation to honor our son Martin's message of peace, a message that went global in the days after he was tragically taken from us while we were all cheering on runners at last year's Boston Marathon," said Martin's father Bill Richard. The foundation was formed on January 2, 2014.
The charity's mission will honor Martin's message of "No more hurting people - peace," by investing in education, athletics and community. Raising funds became paramount, and just a few days after the foundation was formed, a charity running team was announced. Team MR8, so titled for its namesake's initials and favorite number, began accepting applications from 2014 Boston Marathon registrants. All had to complete an 11-page application, and over 250 runners applied.
"We were impressed that every application we received was sincere and thoughtful. Many of them were emotional and told of personal experience with tragedy, perseverance, and heroism," said Denise Richard, Martin's mother. "Some stories were difficult to read, but every single application was read carefully and considered fully. In many ways the process was good for Bill and me."
Applications were received from 35 states, and one happened to be from Indiana. "I'm excited to be running my first Boston Marathon as a part of Team MR8. Every runner and all of our families and friends were impacted by the events at last year's race, none more than the Richard family. I'm proud to be able to run on Martin's team and show my support for his family," says Blake Boldon, Executive Director for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.
Team MR8 members who were previously not registered pledged to raise a minimum of $7,500. The foundation's goal, initially set to $500,000 was recently raised to $750,000. Support has already been strong. The combination of a nationwide tragedy and a natural fundraising vehicle such as a race with the storied history of the Boston Marathon points to the success Team MR8 is likely to have. All team members have a personal giving website. The foundation's aim to pay it forward to honor Martin's legacy is bolstered by names on the team roster such as Amby Burfoot, legendary American marathoner and winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon. Other notable team members include Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon Race Director who famously ran across the US in 1978 for charity and U.S Congresswoman Kyrsten Simena (D-AZ), in addition to several first responders who were directly involved with treating victims on site as well as in the manhunt that led to the arrest of one of the alleged perpetrators.
Boston Marathon Race Director, Dave McGillivray shares his very personal motivation for participating on Team MR8, "My 8-year old son was sitting in the bleachers directly across from Martin, probably looking straight at him at times. Every time I think of that scene, my heart just cries out. How can I not be part of this team? How can I not be drawn to this family? I've run this race 41 times and always did it for myself as a runner. Not this time. I'm doing it for Martin and for the Richard family and I will think of Martin every step of the way and I will think of my own son and what he experienced."
Beyond raising funds Team MR8's goal is to spread Martin's message. Amby Burfoot, Runner's World editor and past Boston Marathon winner summed up his motivation by saying, "As a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War back in the late 1960s, and someone who has always believed in the friendly, cooperative spirit that exists among road runners, I felt as if Martin Richards's message of "No more hurting people. Peace" spoke directly to me and my views. I'm extremely proud to be part of Team MR8."
Martin was a runner himself, participating in the Boston Athletic Association's Children's Relay on marathon weekend for three consecutive years. This year, there are 36,000 runners set to run the 2014 Boston Marathon field on April 22, representing not just team MR8 but a variety of charities and personal challenges.
The runners, staff and team of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, as well as the collective embrace of an entire country, will ensure the grit and determination of each of those 36,000 people has an impact.
The Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)3 charity formed by Bill and Denise Richard, the parents of eight-year old Martin Richard, who was killed at the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013.
To donate, please visit: Team MR8