BY BILL FORRY
A tight-knit group of neighbors and family friends will form the nucleus of the inaugural Team MR8, a squad of 100-plus runners who will run in April’s Boston Marathon in memory of Martin Richard, the eight-year-old Dorchester boy who lost his life in last year’s terror bombing attack.
Each member of the team will raise thousands of dollars for the newly formed Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation, whose mission is “to honor Martin’s message of ‘No more hurting people – peace’ by investing in education, athletics, and community.”
Among those hand-picked by the Richard family and their foundation are close friends and neighbors, including Lisa Hourihan Jackson, Jose Calderon, Mike McCarthy, and Harry Benzan, who coached both Martin and his younger sister Jane, who lost a limb in the attack.
“When this awful thing happened, Bill and Denise [Richard] said that they really wanted some privacy. And we honored what they wanted,” explained Benzan. “So now this opportunity came and this is what they’ve asked for. It’s a wonderful way to show that we’re there for them.”
The other Dorchester and OFD runners named to the squad this week include Colin Butler, Bob Cleary Dave Gilmartin, Michelle Griffin, John Hanlon, Michelle Hobin, Edmund Kelly, Katy Kelly, James Keefe, Suzanne (Morrison) McDevitt, Rachel Moo, Patrick Ryan, and Steve Wilkins.
The full team, which was expected to be finalized and announced last week, will include as many as 108 runners, among them a mix of charity runners, who will receive bibs through the foundation. The team will also include qualified runners who already have a bib through the Boston Athletic Association (BAA).
In a statement announcing plans for the team earlier this month, Bill and Denise Richard explained, “This foundation will be a legacy for Martin, allowing us to ‘pay it forward’ and make a difference in ways that would make him proud but also be a source of healing and purpose for us.”
“As a team member we’re supposed to raise approximately $7,500 [each], said 47-year-old Mike McCarthy, a father of four from Dorchester with close ties to the Richard family. “I’m pretty determined and set my mind to things. After what happened last year it inspired me. I just wanted to do it more. It motivated me even more to run the marathon.”
Mike and his wife Sheila are planning an Irish-themed fundraiser event to help him raise the requisite donation for the MR8 team. The party will be held at Florian Hall on Thurs., Feb. 27. The event will include a 50-50 raffle, a silent auction, step-dancing performances, and “tons of Irish music,” according to McCarthy.