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Team MR8 gears up for NYC Marathon

Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans and Savin Hill’s own Mike Christopher are among the 20 people picked to run in the New York City Marathon this fall on behalf of The Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation, known as Team MR8. The Dorchester-based organization created to honor the memory of the eight-year-old boy who lost his life in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, is still accepting additional applications on a rolling basis from runners who are already registered to run the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon, and who wish to support the Foundation.

The mission of the Foundation is “to honor Martin’s message of ‘No more hurting people – peace’ by investing in education, athletics and community.”

“Having a team of runners honor Martin’s memory by running a major event like the TCS New York City Marathon gives strength to our family and brings people together to make a lasting difference in the world,” said Martin’s father Bill Richard in a statement issued on Tuesday. “We hope more registered runners will apply to join our team and carry my son’s message of peace and hope.”

“We were impressed that every application we received was sincere and thoughtful. Just like we saw with our Boston Marathon charity team, many of the applications were emotional and told of personal experience with tragedy, perseverance, and heroism,” said Denise Richard, Martin’s mother. “We saw in this group, a very strong connection between New York City and our hometown of Boston. The team has a great core of New York City-area members, and many of our Boston-area runners are transplanted New Yorkers eager to help carry our story home.”

The runners named to Team MR8 on Tuesday were:
 Jim Aberdale, South Boston; Howard Berkenblit, Sharon, MA; Amanda Bruno, Andover, MA; Michael Christopher, Dorchester; Hal DeCoursey, Providence, RI; Clare Duffy, New York, NY; Jason Ebbeling, Colchester, CT; Bill Evans, South Boston; Leo Fonseca, Jamaica Plain; Kristin Golat, Staten Island, NY; Scott Hatch, Bradford, MA; Jill Hoss, Council Bluffs, IA; Meredith Johnston, Manhasset, NY; Robert Leary, New York, NY; Jessica Popik, Westminster, MA; John Puma, New York, NY; Marcie Redden, West Hartford, CT; Catherine Renehan, Charlestown; Vicky Shen, South Boston; and Danny Venezia, Cambridge.

The Foundation’s nickname, MR8, is derived from Martin’s initials, as well as age, which was also the number he preferred to wear in sports.
Within days of its formation, the Foundation issued a call for runners for the 2014 Boston Marathon, with hopes of fielding a team of 25-30 members.  The response was overwhelming, with more than 350 applications received.  The inaugural Team MR8 ended up being 102 runners strong and raised more than $1.25 million for the Foundation.

Visit TeamMR8.org to support any of Team MR8’s runners, or to learn more about the team and the Foundation, which has already had an impact here in Dorchester. As we reported earlier this summer, Team MR8 made its very first grant to the Savin Hill Little League to start a new Challenger division that enables children with disabilities to play ball.