Last month, noted crazy person Frank Fumich of Arlington ran three consecutive marathons, or 78.6 miles, to raise money for the family of eight-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the Boston bombings. He was hoping to raise $26,200, or $1,000 for every mile of the marathon. But he raised so much money — now $52,000 — that he added a second beneficiary, Jeffrey Bauman, the man who lost both legs in the blast yet helped identify the suspects.
Now just when you think these ultra-marathoners have exhausted the limits of insanity, they push onward. So Fumich, 45, along with fellow insaniac Matt Nelson, 48, of Lake Worth, Fla., are going to run from the Pentagon to Boston. 450 miles. Nonstop. With a swing through Ground Zero in New York. And finally, they plan to conclude the route by running the entire Boston Marathon course and winding up at the finish line on Boylston Street, where they will be greeted by a representative of the Richard family, and then taken (by AMBULANCE) to a barbecue to meet Bauman. They plan to present checks to both Richard and Bauman while in Boston.
(Then they will walk all the way back to Virginia on their hands. Just kidding. Maybe.)
“I’ve run tons of races,” Fumich said Wednesday, “and I know how easily it could have been my family standing at the finish line. When I heard about the little boy being killed and his family being injured, it blew me away. I’m a runner, we run for causes, and that’s why I’m doing it.”
The goal is to raise $78,600, or a thousand dollars for every mile of a triple marathon. Which is a great idea, and which, if you were sane, would not occur to you.
“It’s just kinda like another marathon’s worth of donations,” Fumich said, since they’ve already got two marathons worth. And, he added, “we’ve really become attached to the families,” meaning the Richards and the Baumans, who both have expressed their gratitude to Fumich and Nelson for their dedication to the cause.
Nelson and Fumich have plotted out a route which does not involve I-95, but does involve plenty of pavement along Route 1 into Delaware, then various roads through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and then Boston. They plan to pass many of the key historical landmarks, and the full itinerary is here.
Fumich and Nelson are both experienced ultra-marathoners, having done such mind-boggling events as a “triple ironman triathlon” — a 7.2-mile swim, a 336-mile bike ride and a 78.6-mile run! — the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley, Calif. (135 miles in the desert!), and the “Four Deserts” run of 150 miles over seven days over four deserts. They are expecting to reach Boston in less than five days, so Fumich noted that that’s actually fewer days than the six or seven days of deserts or “Racing the Planet” events they’ve already done. But the length would be a new personal record. Here is a 2011 profile of Fumich from The Post’s Lenny Bernstein. (Headline: “Completing a triple Ironman requires mental dedication.” Dedication? Yeah. More like medication!)
But those events take nightly pauses. Here, Fumich and Nelson plan to alternate marathons without stopping. One runs for 26.2 miles, the other rests in the chase van. Then they switch. Each man will run about two marathons a day, with some joint running when they hit the sights of Philly or New York. They have lined up state and local police assistance throughout the route, Fumich said. The plan is to start at 6 a.m. Tuesday at the Pentagon, and finish at noon Saturday on Boylston Street.
A crew of friends and enablers will be in a chase vehicle, including Todd Jubeck of Leonardtown, Md., who ran two of the three marathons with Fumich last month between National Airport and Alexandria and is planning to run part of the Arlington-to-Boston route as well. Also in the crew will be Ben Britton, Brad Lombardi, Dennis Mondoro and Rick Baird. They will have a GPS to provide live location updates, and various runners and groups are planning to join them along the way.
The idea of raising money while testing one’s physical (and MENTAL) limits was launched online by Nelson in 2005 when he established The Endurance Trust, which allows runners and other iron people to collect pledges for the distances they cover. “After what we saw happen in Boston, Frank and I knew we had to show the world that the running community is a resilient, loving, and giving family,” Nelson said. “The truth is, I started The Endurance Trust on that premise. As athletes, we’re passionate about the causes we run for. We’re encouraging every runner to participate on our run to Boston. Join us for a block, join us for a day. We won’t turn family away.” So far, they have received donations from runners and businesses in 20 countries and nearly every state.
The project’s website is hosted by FirstGiving, a Boston company which Fumich said has been greatly supportive and helped get the word out about the fundraising. You can donate to this project, called “Stand United Run United,” right here.
You can follow the progress of the run here.
Fumich frequently posts funny updates on his Facebook page, here. A Twitter feed can be followed here, @endurancetrust and #dc2bos. And the permanent site for the Endurance Trust and the “DC2Boston” effort will be here.
Checks may also be sent to: The Endurance Trust, c/o Frank Fumich, 4593 Hunting Trail, Lake Worth, FL 33467