1st-time Runners Join Joe Andruzzi Foundation for Boston Marathon Fundraiser

(NECN: Katelyn Tivnan, Boston) - The windows of the Forum restaurant on Boston's Boylston Street were blown out when the second bomb whent off on Marathon Monday last year.

That was where the Joe Andruzzi Foundation held a team watch party. The bombings at the finish line brought that party to an abrupt halt.

Two people impacted that day are training to run the Boston Marathon, raising money to help the organization.

Sunday, more than 100 people gathered at the restaurant to show their support for employee Erinn Fleming and her mission.

She and running partner Peter Riddle are training for their first Boston Marathon. They will be raising money for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation.

The two first-time runners were at the watch party last Boston Marathon when the day took a tragic turn.

"My desire to run this year is from last year," said Riddle. "I was here, and that's part of the inspiration that got me to run this year."

"Never before did I ever consider it," said Fleming. "It wasn't something that I had ever aspired to do. But, you know, certain circumstances can change someone's mind."

The foundation provides help and hope to patients and families battling cancer. This year, 47 runners will be crossing the finish line as part of Team JAF. They will also be spreading the foundation's message of the power of positive thinking.

"I first met them and was introduced to them last year, planning their fundraiser here, and their marathon team watch party, and just thought, 'What an amazing group of people. What an amazing thing that they do,'" said Fleming.

For both runners, crossing the finish line will be a major accomplishment - something they know will bring them personal joy, and also bring joy to the lives of others in need.

"My goal is to raise $26,200, so every $700 that you raise makes a big impact on those families," said Riddle.

"I think every mile I run is another smile, maybe, that I put on someone's face," said Fleming.

Combined, Fleming and Riddle are expected to raise close to $40,000 for the cause.

They said the run is going to be emotional, but they are very happy to be a part of it.

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