They’re racing Monday from Hopkinton to Boston with Martin Richard’s name and number on their back. They call themselves “Team MR8,” 102 in total, and many of them will carry the memories of the young, spirited boy they saw grow up day-to-day in and around Dorchester.
“A good-looking kid — great athlete, great student, great friend,’’ said Mattapan’s Harry Benzan, recalling the Martin Richard he coached on the soccer field for one season. “He was Eddie Haskell meets Larry Bird and Tom Brady — the type of kid who made me feel like anything I said as his coach meant the world to him.’’
Eight-year-old Martin Richard, ever-smiling, eager to please, and delightfully mischievous at times, was the youngest of the three people killed in the two explosions near the Boston Marathon’s finish line last April.
Members of Team MR8, assembled in recent months by the charitable foundation the Richard family formed in his name, recently crossed the $1 million threshold in donations. The funds will be directed toward education, athletics, and community — and it is the close-knit community of friends around the Richard home in Dorchester that gives Team MR8 much of its identity.
Benzan, 48, will be running Boston for the seventh time (including three bandit appearances), and has privately pledged to knock off 26 pushups (one per mile) when he crosses the finish line. Martin was the kind of kid who appreciated extra effort.
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