Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sean Astin: My Team MR8 Jersey

Submitted by Sean Astin, @SeanAstin

Look what came in the mail today. My Team MR8 Jersey.
{I have to raise $3,000 more to reach my fundraising goal. Please Sponsor MY Boston Marathon. It's only 32 days away. Every $10 gets me closer. Boston Marathon Team MR8 Fundraising}
It's been a long time since I earned my way onto an athletic team. In fact, the last running team I was on, was the Crossroads High School Varsity Cross Country Squad, Santa Monica CA 1989. 
Whew, that takes ya back. 26 Years. Give me a sec. I have to sit down on the couch to finish writing this. I don't even want to think it, but it may be a full 2 pounds for every year. Ugh. Now I'm sitting on the floor. 
I wore a size 8 in High School. Now I wear a size 9. Then, I could run three 6 minute miles. Now, I can run six 9 minute miles (almost). Back then, I felt alone a lot. Now I don't. My High School Cross Country Team had less than 15 people. Team MR8 has 73. In my youth, I tried my very best. In that department, nothing has changed.
My wife and daughters admire the jersey for all that it stands for. Their question reveals a more complete story. Are you going to wear an undershirt Dad? 
It's a strange mixture of feelings that every kid in little league must feel. Awesome, I'm a part of something so cool, tinged with a little bit of anxiety, am I worthy, will I let anyone down? Funny to be in my mid 40's and still worry that I might let someone down on a totally discretionary activity, where literally no one can be adversely affected by my performance. Well, I suppose if I got hurt and couldn't finish, people might think it was a bummer to have sponsored a runner who didn't finish. But, in the big picture, it doesn't really matter. Except that it does. It matters during training runs, to think that the Martins will know if I finish and when. My team members will know if I lag behind, which I most certainly will. Is it possible to raise people's hopes and lower their expectations? 
Hmm. these are fun questions to ponder but there is a fundamental problem with all of them. They are all about me. When I lifted this jersey out of the box I got jitters of excitement. Then I read the handwritten card inside. Bill and Denise Richard had taken the time to thank me for becoming a part of their team. They included a great picture of Martin. The jersey in my hand carries just a little more weight now. The Boston Strong Colors, the red letters TEAM. The word Peace written by a child's hand. Wow. I am a part of a team.
When a beauty pageant contestant says she wants world peace, the world kinda laughs. Probably shouldn't, but they do. Well, take a close look at my jersey. Read that single word, Peace. Not laughing now are we? 
The violent death of a child. That single word, Peace.
It's been 2 years since the bombing in Boston. The trial is bringing the pain of that day to the surface again. The ritual running of the marathon draws near again. 
Why me? Why now? To what end? 
The odds are extremely small that I might ever actually qualify for the Boston Marathon. But, the Race Director invited me to join Team MR8 this year. It's a dream come true to participate in this extraordinary American tradition. If I ever dared to picture myself running it, it would have been in a plain shirt. Now, the reality is that I will be in Boston in one month. I have been welcomed onto a team. I am running in honor of a boy I never met and a family I've come to admire. 
I must earn my way onto this squad. My compassion and my earnest determination to work for Peace in this life have made me eligible. My desire to share Martin's story and willingness to ask for help has secured my spot. 
YOU are the actual currency, the inspiration and the will...
Thank you so much for every $1, $10, $25 and more...
Thank YOU for putting this jersey on my back and pushing me every step of the way. 
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
$3,000 to reach my goal. Every $10 gets me closer.
I'm going to stand up now, put on my running shoes and work for it a little bit more, a little bit harder before turning in. 
Like a little kid, I'm keeping the jersey where I can see it when I sleep. 
It's good to be a part of a team. 
Much Love and Respect,
‪#‎Run3rd‬ for YOU!!!
**The Logo on my hat is #Run3rd
**The Shirt I'm wearing is Wounded Warrior Support Organization, an Official Sponsor of MY Boston run.

Originally posted on Sean Astin's Facebook page


  1. I first read about this amazing young man Martin, on facebook via Sean's post and then he popped up a photo of Martin's sister with the most beautiful smile on her face and the caption that Jane loves to dance. This photo has stayed in my mind a couple weeks now. I have (like Sean) 3 daughters and all 3 are keen dancers. The eldest teaches dance as well as still dances herself, the middle daughter has moved 2500km away to study classical dance and the youngest volunteers as a teacher assistant as well as takes classes. I've seen that same look on my girl's faces as Jane's in the photo and we were all touched to hear that she's continued with her passion. We would love to be able to send a parcel of some Australian dance outfits to Jane as an encouragement to remain youthful and to joyfully pursue her passions. I'm just not sure how to get something to her - maybe Sean or Linda Iroff or someone may know of a way or organisation to channel through?
    In just under 2 weeks I am participating in my first ever virtual run3rd5k event (walking this year but hoping to run in the future!). In Australia I will be doing it on April 12 which coincides with April 11 Arizona. It was going to be a sad day for me as I would have just put my 17 yo daughter back on a plane to return to her studies on the other side of the country. But she is following her passion and all her obstacles and injuries pale in comparison to Jane's and other children. So instead of being sad about something good in our lives (!) I will #run3rd for all the children who have been robbed of a carefree, wonder-filled childhood - those forced into adulthood too soon by an act of evil, terror, war, famine, illness. I will #run3rd for those who have had unbearable grief in losing a loved one or for those who have had to step up to take care of a parent and be the adult in their home when grief, depression, illness or addiction has taken over the adult's life. I will #run3rd for those children who are unable to smile like Jane. And I would love to #run3rd for Jane and the inspiration she gave me to answer Sean's call for participants from around the world. May she always smile.

    1. Hi Julie,
      Thank you for the lovely message. I've forwarded it to Sean.

      You can send a message via the Martin Richard Charitable Foundation via their website:
      I'm sure they can give you information on where to send a donation of dance outfits.

      Blessings to you and your daughters!


  2. A couple of days ago I was reading some online articles about the Boston Marathon and I came across one about Sean Astin running Boston. My first thoughts were: “Pretty cool. Don’t know the guy, but I’ve watched his movies over the years.” So I read the article and eventually found my way here to Team #Run3rd. Impressive to say the least.

    Like Sean I look at the Boston Marathon as the “Super Bowl” of running. Most anyone who has ever laced up a pair of running shoes has probably dreamed of running Boston. I know I have. Running has always been “my thing” and my dad has always been my biggest cheerleader. I’ve completed ten full marathons and hundreds of other road races of varying distances, but Boston? I never thought I’d have the opportunity. Trust me, like so many others I’ve tried to get a Boston Qualifying Time. I’ve tried hard, but could never quite nail it on race day.

    My dad has been with me at the finish line, near the finish line or on the other end of the phone shortly after I’ve crossed the finish line for every one of the marathons that I’ve ran. He was with me last October in Columbus, Ohio where we joked after the marathon about who needed the cane more me or him?

    Dad and I watched the highlights of the 2014 Boston Marathon last spring as he again lay in a hospital bed suffering from the effects of liver disease, a disease that he’s battled for years. At one point he asked me: “When will you run in Boston?” Kind of a loaded question to ask someone who is a below average runner at best, so I laughed it off and told him that I didn’t think me running the Boston Marathon would ever be in the cards for me. Dad simply said: “Someday you’ll run there.”

    On a whim this past summer, I applied to be a part of the American Liver Foundation’s “Run For Research Team” for the 2015 Boston Marathon. My plan was to run Boston in honor of my father and to try and help to raise funds for an organization with a mission that has obvious meaning to my family. I filled out the questionnaire, wrote the essays and pretty much forgot all about it until early this past September when I received an email with the title: “Congratulations! You’ve Been Selected to Run The 2015 Boston Marathon As A Part Of The American Liver Foundation’s Run For Research Team!” The first person I called was dad to tell him the news and I’ll never forget the sound of his voice as he kept telling me over and over again: “I’m going to get well enough to be able to be there with you.”

    As we all know, life happens on it’s own time and there’s really nothing anyone can do about that. Dad passed away on November 8, 2014. With that loss, my running the Boston Marathon in a few weeks has taken on a whole new meaning.

    Like Sean, I agreed to a fundraising commitment for Boston. We created Team 26.2 over the winter as a means to get fellow runners up and active during the winter months. We held a “Winter Running Series” of varying distances where the entry fee was by donation and every penny raised was sent to the American Liver Foundation. For me the crazy thing was that what was originally designed to raise funds turned into a means by which to heal. By being surrounded with others who have a genuine love and respect for running and all that it can do, I found a new personal love and respect for running. I healed with every mile run.

    On April 20th, I’ll be running the Boston Marathon for my father, my best friend and my hero. For the man who taught me that there is no greater love than that of the love between a father and a son. For the man who taught me to live life with courage.

    I truly respect the mission of Team #Run3rd. It’s what it should be about. Best of luck to Sean in a few weeks in his quest to finish his own “Boston Plan.” Maybe I’ll see him out on the course. I’ll be the guy wearing the Team 26.2 hat, putting one foot in front of the other in search of the finish line.

    1. Marc, thank you for this beautiful comment. I hope you do see Sean on the course, and I know that your dad will be at the finish line in your heart, and there every step of the way.