Completing a marathon can be emotional for anyone, but for Henry Richard, completing his first Boston Marathon was about so much more than running.
In 2013, he lost his 8-year-old brother, Martin, in the Boston Marathon bombing — he was the youngest victim of the three who were killed. Ever since, the Richard family have found countless ways to honor their son while also making the city they love a better place for all. Henry’s been involved with much of it, but he’s also been working toward a personal goal of his: To complete the Boston Marathon himself.
It took years for the now 20-year-old to be ready to take on this race, but with the love and support of his family, friends, and community, he knew he could do it.
“So many people were out there for me,” Henry said. “All my friends, my family. Motivation was the least of my worries. There was so many people there to support me. It was wonderful and I couldn’t believe it.”
Henry’s support didn’t just come from the crowd — he was a part of a running team whose primary goal wasn’t to win the race but to raise money for the Martin Richard Foundation!
Created in honor of Martin, this foundation “works to advance the values of inclusion, kindness, justice and peace” by investing in “community programs that broaden horizons for young people and encourage them to celebrate diversity and engage in positive civic action.”
Part of what sparked the idea for this foundation was a photo of Martin that went viral soon after the bombing occurred. In it, the 8-year-old is smiling as he holds a sign that reads, “No more hurting people. Peace.”
Henry and his team all donned yellow shirts featuring “MR8,” but Henry stood out by having the names of his siblings written in marker on his arms. Not only did this help him feel like they were with him, but it was also a great way to honor his sister, Jane, who survived the attack but lost her left leg from it.
As he neared the end of the race, Henry became emotional, pausing for a while at the memorial that was set up for the victims of the bombing. Soon after, though, he quickly made his way to the finish line, pumping both fists in the air to celebrate the moment he finally crossed the finish line.
There, he was met by family who were eager to congratulate him with a much-needed hug.
“I’m just so glad I could finally be here,” Henry said. “So much emotion. I know Martin would have been doing it with me … I did it for both of us.”
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