Running for Boston

Mark Steidler ('08) on the run

Mark Steidler (’08) on the run

For a sport as solitary as long-distance running, this year’s disrupted Boston Marathon proved something about runners: They depend on each other, friends and families for support. It’s a sports community like none other. That’s part of the reason that JMU alumnus Mark Steidler (’08) and a veteran of nine marathons, including Boston, made a quick and calculated decision to turn a scheduled run this coming weekend into a fundraiser for victims of Monday’s bombing. He’ll be running in the GW Parkway 10-miler — but with a twist.

He’s decided to add 16 miles to his race, making his run a true marathon.

“Initially, I had two main goals,” Mark writes. “First, I wanted it to be known to my friends and family of how much I appreciate and rely on their support during the marathon training process and on race day itself. I viewed Monday’s attack as not one targeted at runners themselves, but an attack toward the community that embraces them.

“This led into my second goal, which was to raise money for all of those that were killed or injured. It’s a really small way of saying thank you to the countless individuals whose names I’ll never know and faces I’ll never remember. But, every step of the way, I needed them.”

Mark is calling his race the “10 to 26.2 Run for Boston.” Whatever he raises will be donated to the One Fund, the official Boston fund for victims of the Patriots’ Day bombing.

His friends have rallied.

“Given the short amount of time between Monday’s tragedy, the setup of The One Fund Boston and the GW Parkway Classic race on Sunday, I knew it would be difficult to organize a fundraiser and spread the word quickly enough,” Mark writes. “But shortly after posting something to Facebook yesterday, I was overwhelmed by the immediate, positive response. A bunch of JMU alums have posted it on their own walls and communities they’re associated with. I’ve seen many posts and donations come in from names I don’t recognize, which is fantastic. The only things I have in common with the majority of these people are that we went to JMU and that we’re looking to help those affected by the bombing.”

“My initial goal was $500, which I felt to be fairly modest given that I only had a five-day window between launching the fundraiser and race day. That goal was broken within the first 24 hours. So now, the sky’s the limit,” he writes.

When Mark’s not running, the marketing graduate is a senior marketing analyst for NeoSystems and lives in Arlington, Va. He’ll be leaving NeoSystems to pursue an MBA at the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.

But Saturday, he’ll be running to help the victims in Boston. Running for Boston. Running to help.

If you’re interested in join Mark’s effort, go to

About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

One Response to Running for Boston

  1. GO, MARK! What a generous thing to do.


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