We just can't say enough to thank Martin Park, a 24-year-old former active duty Marine and now a reservist. Not only did he run his first marathon (the Tacoma City Marathon) wearing 48.5 pounds of gear and a Race For A Soldier shirt, but he raised $3,300 dollars in the process to donate to the Permission To Start Dreaming Foundation!
Here's an excerpt from The News Tribune:
The first runner over the Tacoma Narrows during the May 1 Tacoma City Marathon was carrying a pack loaded with 48.5 pounds of gear.
It was the first marathon for 24-year-old Martin Park, and he was running for more than himself. He was raising money to help find solutions for soldiers affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Park works for Columbia Bank and is a former active duty Marine. Now a reservist, he travels regularly to California to serve with his unit.
Park hatched the idea for the run late last year when he heard about Marines at Camp Pendleton running 22 kilometers while carrying 22 pounds of gear to raise awareness for the estimated 22 veterans who commit suicide each day.
His schedule didn’t allow him to participate. He was also unable to participate in Gig Harbor’s annual Race for a Solider, which raises money to help soldiers with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.
He could, however, enter the Tacoma City Marathon. “I decided to up the ante,” Park said.
Instead of 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) he’d run 26.2 miles. And instead of 22 pounds, he’d carry 22 kilograms (48.5 pounds).
“The outpouring of support was incredible from friends, co-workers and strangers alike,” Park said. “... I just wanted to create some visibility for a very real national problem but also one that certainly affects us here in the South Sound.”
He raised $3,300 for Permission To Start Dreaming, the Gig Harbor foundation that stages Race for a Soldier. He says he’s concluded his fundraising and is directing those who still wish to contribute to raceforasoldier.org. “Or better yet, enter the race,” Park said. This year’s Race for a Soldier is Sept. 25.
To read the entire story, click here.