Family of Boston Marathon bombing victim supports road race to honor first responders

Martin Richard.
Martin Richard.(Bill Richard via Associated Press)

The family of Martin Richard will spend Labor Day saying thank you.

On Monday morning, some 2,000 runners will gather at TD Garden for a road race billed as a “Run For Gratitude” honoring first responders, including those who rushed to the finish line following the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013.

“We try to lead by example, and we try to do, rather than just say,” said Martin’s father, Bill Richard, in a phone interview Thursday. “We’ve always been thankful to our first responders, but this is an opportunity for us to do. . . . It’s really more about us trying to stay true to our mission of providing opportunities for people to lead through community engagement. We try to do that by bringing folks together in a united way.”


The Richards have worked to honor the legacy of 8-year-old Martin since the bombings claimed his life. They launched the Martin Richard Foundation with a mission statement of supporting a world “where people recognize the humanity in others and model the decency needed for a united, compassionate, and inclusive community.”

Monday’s 5-mile run will be hosted by the foundation in partnership with the Boston Bruins Foundation and Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises. Proceeds go to a McLean Hospital program that treats first responders.

Richard said the race, modeled on similar events at Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium, will be the first of its kind to start and finish on center ice at the Garden. “We couldn’t be more honored and more pleased to work with the Boston Bruins Foundation and TD Garden,” he said.

The McLean’s program, launched after the bombings, helps first responders grappling with traumatic events on the job.

The race route will begin at the Garden and snake through downtown past the Common into Back Bay, where runners will then loop back, eventually crossing a finish line at the Garden beneath 23 championship banners that hang from the rafters, organizers said.


Registration is $45 per person and open online at www.TDGarden.com/MR8K, and runners can also sign up in person before the race on Monday morning.

“Through our work at the Martin Richard Foundation, and with incredible partners like TD Garden, the Boston Bruins Foundation and public safety officials, we continue to see that there are so many individuals across our community who respond to adversity with kindness and selflessness,” Richard said in a statement released by the foundation. “That’s why the proceeds from this year’s MR8K will benefit first responders and all those who stand up for others when it would be easier to do nothing at all. It is our way of saying thank you to them for what they did for us and do for others every day.”

Boston Police Commissioner William Gross praised the race organizers in a statement.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Martin Richard Foundation, The Boston Bruins Foundation, TD Banknorth Garden, and the Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises for their continued dedication to recognizing First Responders across the nation,” Gross said. “It is an honor to see the ongoing commitment to community betterment through these organizations.”

Richards’ words were echoed by Charlie Jacobs, the Bruins’ chief executive officer who also heads the team’s charitable foundation.

“It is an honor to be given the opportunity to support the values of sportsmanship, inclusion, kindness and peace that the Martin Richard Foundation promotes through its work in the community,” Jacobs said in the statement. “Thank you to the Richard family and all of those involved in the MR8K A Run for Gratitude for allowing TD Garden and the Boston Bruins Foundation to play a role in what will be an inspiring and memorable event.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.