The Chicago Marathon: A Run for Martin

The day was Monday, April 15th.  Patriot’s Day.  Marathon Monday.

Like the 27,000 other runners, it began with a bus ride to Hopkinton for the start of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon.  It was a cool but perfectly sunny Spring New England day. Over the next few hours, I had the incredible fortune of experiencing the highest of runner’s highs – a 10th place finish at the grand daddy of all marathons.  That elation, however, was soon replaced by chaos and terror.  Bombs.  Blood.  Sirens.  SWAT teams.  Words that no one involved in the sport could have imagined being associated with a race.

It was a restless flight back to the West Coast that next morning.  As I sat there reading through the various newspapers, trying to still come to grips with everything that had transpired the previous day, I was overcome with a feeling of apathy.  Running seemed so inconsequential.  In the days and weeks after the attacks America learned about those whose lives were suddenly and dramatically changed that Monday afternoon.  Each face had a story.  And each story was heartbreaking.  But no story affected me more than the one of the young Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who was killed in the blast, and his family.

web-martin-richardsThe Richard family, like so many others, watched their father/husband sneak out the door for training runs in preparation for his marathon.  Mr. Richard trained while juggling both his job and family responsibilities.  And with each and every run he logged, Mr. Richard taught his kids, whether they realized it or not, about setting goals and working hard to achieve those goals.

When Patriot’s Day came around, the Richard family – Mom, Martin, and daughter Jane -  made the trek down towards the finish line so that they could watch their dad complete this monumental task.  I can only imagine the joy in Martin’s heart as he waited for, and then watched, his dad come running down Boylston Street.  He must have been so proud.  That was his dad out there, kicking butt!

People aren’t supposed to die at races.  Especially kids waiting to watch their dads finish the Boston Marathon.  I’m not a dad, but that might not always be the case.  And if there are ever little Craigs energetically bouncing around this ball some day, I hope that I will be able to share the joy of running with them.  It was the father-son part of the story that really hit home with me.  Being able to play sports with – and against – my dad growing up were among some of my favorite childhood memories.  Sadly, Mr. Richard no longer gets to have these moments with Martin.

In the days after Boston, I vowed to myself that I would do something to help the Richard family in my next marathon.  I didn’t know the what or the how, but as timed passed, the answers to those questions became more clear thanks to the help of CharityBets.com, Boston Globe reporter, David Abel, and Richard family friend, Larry Marchese.  At the Chicago marathon in 3 weeks, I will run, very literally, for Martin and the Richard family.  The better my performance, the more money we can raise for the Richard Family Fund.  But I need your help.

Let me give you a brief rundown of what I hope to accomplish.  I have partnered with the website CharityBets.com to help raise funds for the Richard family.  If you are wondering what the heck a “charitybet” is, well, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  A “charitybet” is a performance-based donation.  In this case, donations that will be based on my performance at next month’s Chicago Marathon.  There are 3 different ways that you all can play along:

  1. Flat Donation:  This means that regardless of how I perform, you agree to donate X amount.
  2. Over/Under: You agree to donate X amount regardless if I run faster than 2:14:38 or not, and if I run faster than my goal time you will increase your donation to X.  For example, you commit to making a flat donation of $10, and then if I go on to reach my goal, you will donate $35 dollars.
  3. Progressive Donation: You place a bet based on how much faster than 2:14:38 you think I can run.  Think of this as a a sliding scale: the faster I run, the more money you donate.  You can choose the time increments and amounts.  An example would be for every 10 seconds faster than 2:14:38, you will donate $5.

I thought it made sense to set the “betting” bar at 2:14:38, my time from this year’s Boston race and my current marathon PR.  It’s an ambitious goal, but I have confidence in my training, and in my ability to make this happen.  I know that many of you might have already made donations to the OneFund or other charities, but I hope that you will consider playing along as a favor to me.  No amount is too small.  I’ve set a goal of trying to raise $1,500 but I think we can do better!  Also, your donations are tax deductible.

Help me honor the legacy of Martin, and help the Richard family, at this year’s Chicago Marathon.  Over the next few weeks, with your support, we can play a small role in the Richard family’s return to their “new normal”.  And you better believe that on October 13th I’ll be full of run with some of that Boston Strong mojo at my back and under my feet!  Let’s go do something special, together.

To make a charitybet and play along, follow the link below:

https://charitybets.com/users/322-craig-leon

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2 Responses to The Chicago Marathon: A Run for Martin

  1. Pingback: Chicago Marathon: Pre-Race Thoughts | www.craigleonrunning.com

  2. achase47 says:

    You have the support of this Bostonian. Run inspired tomorrow!

    Al

    WRP Logo1

    Dr. Al Chase, Founder

    White Rhino Partners

    1 Broadway, 14th floor

    Cambridge, MA 02142

    cell: (978) 239-2864

    office: (617) 401-2113

    Blog: http://whiterhinoreport.blogspot.com/

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/achase

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