Paying Tribute

Posted: April 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Marathon Coalition pasta party was simply awe-inspiring. As I stood before hundreds of runners and their friends and families, I was overwhelmed with the realization that this was just an idea 5 years ago. I’m comforted knowing we are approaching the milestone of raising $1 million this year for the 13 charities represented.

These funds will provide hope and opportunity for young people that have the aptitude to attend college but not the resources. The college education these first-generation students receive will begin a legacy of learning and opportunity for subsequent generations. Mentoring is a central theme of several Marathon Coalition charities. These incredible and inspiring mentors, in many cases, will be the first person in the lives of many of the young people to believe in them. They will ignite a passion for chasing dreams and pursuing opportunities for so many students that were entirely beyond their grasp.

I will always remember the water stops filled with volunteers from the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, an organization whose mission it is to build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. I met several amazing 7th grade girls last night that have been supported by Dream-Big! Started just a few years ago by Linda Driscoll, this organization helps low-income and homeless girls achieve their dreams by providing the basic items necessary to enable them to participate in sports and physical activity, helping to lay the foundation for healthy, active lifestyles and quality learning experiences.

Camp Shriver’s mission is to provide inclusive summer program for children with and without intellectual disabilities. Their goal is to provide sports and other recreational and enrichment activities for all participants. To create an atmosphere of understanding, learning, and sharing so that campers from diverse backgrounds with and without disabilities can engage in positive peer relationships and develop new friendships.

The Boys & Girls Club of Newton and Dorchester inspire and enable all young people, from diverse circumstances, to realize their full potential by providing opportunities for personal growth to become contributing, caring and responsible members of the community.

I know that every Marathon Coalition runner will complete the Boston Marathon tomorrow. Charity runners have a higher completion rate than any other segment of the Boston Marathon field, even greater than the front-running Kenyans and the mass of runners represented by the qualified runners. The reason is quite simple…charity runners aren’t just running for themselves…they are running for a much higher purpose. They run to give hope and, in many cases, to provide the gift of life to so many. They have had hundreds of people support them through their fundraising efforts and to say…”I believe in you…I know that you can do this…You inspire me on so many levels…My life will be enriched because of your efforts.”

So tomorrow, and the balance of my life, I salute and pay tribute to all charity runners!

I will see you at the finish line!

  1. David Brown says:

    What’s the best way for some college students to follow/see runners a couple of times? I forget, is it first at Framingham and then take train to Newton, then T to Boston? Where should I drop them off?

  2. David Brown says:

    Best of luck all Marathon Coalition runners!

  3. Richie says:

    Coach Rick,

    Thank you for your help and support over the past few months and your words of wisdom today on the course. My right knee was in a lot of pain by the time I saw you around mile 15, but you helped to keep me determined and I continued to chug along. I was unable to finish the race, made it to 24.5, because of the horrible events of the day. Although slightly disappointed, my not finishing is nothing compared to the tragedy of those who were effected by the blast. I know I would have finished, so my thoughts are with those who need them rather than any disappointment I have about not officially finishing.

    Anyways thanks for your hard work and especially your motivating words today.

    Take Care,

    Richie Haskell
    Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester Runner

    • Hello Richie,

      I knew you would make it to the finish line when I ran with you at Mile 15. I could not have imagined the marathon would be cut short by such a horrific tragedy. I am extremely proud of your effort yesterday as well as your commitment to the mission of College Bound Dorchester.

      I hope that we can stay in touch.

      Your Coach,


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