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(NECN: Josh Brogadir) - They’re not only running in Martin’s memory, but also for the future work of the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation, following the 8 year old Dorchester boy’s everlasting message of "No more hurting people – peace."
MR8, Martin Richard, was just 8 years old.
This story is about moving far beyond the blast that took his life to the team of runners keeping his name and spirit going.
Team MR8 will have up to 108 runners on the streets leading to Boston’s Back Bay on April 21, two of them are on this day tackling the hills of Martin’s own Dorchester neighborhood, and thinking about him as they run side by side.
“We were all stunned, that this tragedy occurred and it was our best friends that were there. (It was) the worst day of our life,” said Lisa Jackson.
Jackson, her husband, and their four kids are some of the Richard family’s closest friends.
They spent much of Patriots’ Day weekend together before the race.
“It was the perfect weekend. And then Monday,” Jackson said trailing off.
For tens of thousands, running the 2014 Boston Marathon will be the melding of physical fitness and emotional necessity.
“I call it my mustache for Martin, which my girlfriend coined,” said former teacher Nikolas Franks.
Count Franks, Martin’s former teacher, among them.
He also taught Martin's sister Jane.
“I got a phone call not an hour later saying that my student Jane had lost her leg, and it devastated me and it was really the hardest thing I've experienced in my life. And then it was maybe 20 minutes later that she called back and she said, Martin was probably the child that died,” Franks said.
But there is fun peeking through the serious.
These are Martin and brother Henry and sister Jane's friends.
And if kids are anything, they are a source of smiles and a hope for our future.
Team MR8’s mission is to remember Martin by investing in education, athletics, and community.
“They really and truly give all of us such an example of family and strength,” said Team MR8 runner and friend Michelle Griffin.
“I wanted to let them know how much we care, that's what means so much to me,” said Team MR8 runner and friend Suzanne McDevitt.
“(I want to give them) some faith and some optimism in being part of the team,” said Team MR8 runner and friend Katy Kelly.
April 15, 2013 was a dark day in the Jackson house, a dark day in Boston.
Team MR8 is helping let in the light.
“That kid was all sports, mischievous, involved in everything in the community. He was just a dear friend to all of our kids and he's greatly missed,” Jackson added.
Each runner has committed to raising $7500, a small price they say, to keep Martin’s memory alive.
So far the team has raised more than $80,000 toward its $500,000 goal.
To find out more information or to give, go to www.teamMR8.org