Sometimes you run across some pretty amazing things and people on the internet. Paddy of Paddy Runs for Boston is one of these wonderful serendipitous discoveries that I’ve made as I happily click through the internet.
Paddy is an actor in New York City who is raising money for Team Hoyt (another amazing inspiring story) by training and running the Boston Marathon. I met with Paddy after one of his training runs (more on this later) to interview him.
Paddy grew up on a horse farm in Ohio (I’m jealous about growing up on a horse farm). He became interested in acting at an early age because he craved attention, even though he was an only child. When I asked about him being an only child and not having to compete for attention with any siblings, he cheerfully admitted that he wanted ALL the attention for himself. But now, the joy he finds in acting is in the teamwork and cooperation to create a world for the audience. Paddy described his joy when the chemistry among the actors are just right and everything falls into place. It was clear that he took immense pride in his craft and being able to breathe life into the words written on paper. Paddy will be in a show starting in a couple weeks at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.
Paddy had a long casual on-and-off again relationship with running. When Haiti suffered immense disaster and suffering from the 2010 earthquake, Paddy was moved to helped. He decided to raise money by running a mile for every $1 people donated. This started Paddy Runs for Haiti. Hoping to raise $300, he ended up raising over $3000, which took over three years to run. During that time, he ran several marathons and a few ultras. The last mile he ran was at the 2013 Boston Marathon, where he achieved a PR of 2:52:46. He felt immense happiness at accomplishing his goal of raising money for Haiti and his PR. Then within a couple hours, that day became one of the worst days of his life with the news of bombing near the finish line where he had been earlier.
Once again Paddy decided that he couldn’t just stand and watch. He had to run. So he is now running for Boston, but raising money for Team Hoyt and the Hoyt Foundation, where they support programs to help people with physical and mental disabilities to lead healthy and active lives. Paddy wanted to help where he felt he would have the most impact.
I found Paddy’s Run for Boston blog and I was incredibly moved by his passion and dedication. I did a little bit more searching and found his site where I read more about his background and fundraising. I loved his rather clever idea of raising money by running miles. If you donate $10, you’ll sponsor a short six-mile training run. If you donate $20 or more, you’ll sponsor a long run of 13 or more miles. When you sponsor these runs, you can tell him where to run. Or if you’re more of a betting person, for $15 you can issue him a challenge. If he meets your challenge, you kick in an extra $10. If he doesn’t, then Paddy ponies the additional $10. Don’t have much money? You can donate your change or donate $3 to tack on an additional mile to one of his training runs or races.
After completing a sponsored run, Paddy writes up a hilarious description of the training run on his blog. I read some of his prior training runs and decided that I had to join in on the fun. I kicked in $20 and asked him to run in 16 miles New Jersey, specifically along the waterfront to Liberty State Park. After his run, we met up for a pancake brunch at Stacks in Hoboken, where I got to know him a bit better.
What Paddy likes about running is that it’s something that is just him and quite different from acting. As an actor, he’s subject to criticisms and acting is subjective. Running is quantifiable. He also appreciates how people find different things that work for them in running. He likes to do long runs. While he likes getting PRs as much as the next person, he doesn’t worry when he doesn’t get one in a race. Paddy said that he has enough pressure from acting and running was a break from stress. He runs because he loves experience of running.
I wish Paddy much luck with raising money and running the Boston Marathon. Please check out Paddy’s site and donate if you’re able. I would love to be able to continue to help Paddy by spreading the word and hopefully drumming up some more money for him.
There’s still time to enter my giveaway for a Large Pocket Spibelt.