BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Marathon finish line was the scene of a tragedy the Richard family could never have imagined. But on Monday, they’ll sit in the stands on Boylston Street, cheering on 100 runners who are finishing their 26.2-mile journey in honor of a young boy who has touched countless lives.
Eight-year-old Martin Richard was killed in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings while standing along Boylston Street with his family.
Three years later, his father Bill told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Joe Mathieu that he will be in stands watching 100 members of Team MR8 finish the marathon as a part of the team that spreads the word of Martin’s now famous message of “No More Hurting People. Peace.”
“What happened back in 2013, I think there are some folks who are still a little hesitant to head back to Boylston,” Bill Richard said. “I’m grateful that our children are willing to go, we’re willing to go. We embrace the marathon, we embrace running. We embrace it as a means for money to support the Martin Richard Foundation.”
Team MR8 raises money to support athletics, education and community efforts throughout Boston.
Members of Team MR8 Excited for Boston Marathon
One of them is the Martin Richard Challenger Sports Program, which allows children of all ability to swim, play soccer, basketball and participate in other sports.
The weekend leading up to Marathon Monday was a busy and emotional one for the Richard family.
They were central figures in One Boston Day on Friday. Later that night, Bill attended a part for MR8 along with his son Henry.
At the party, they were presented an olive branch dipped in gold by the son of 1946 Boston Marathon winner Stylianos Kyriakides. The gift was a sign of peace that reflects Martin’s motto.
On Sunday, Bill Richard said he and his family were welcomed with open arms by the Red Sox for their game at Fenway Park.
“While we don’t feel like heroes, they honored our family as heroes,” said Bill. “In many ways we feel the true heroes are the folks that helped out that day back in 2013. But the Red Sox, as well as the Bruins and all the sports teams in town have been wonderful to our family and many of the survivors.”
Team MR8 features 100 runners from more than 12 states. About 20 of them are from Boston, 15 from the family’s hometown of Dorchester.
Race Director Dave McGillivray and 2015 women’s wheelchair champion Tatyana McFadden will both complete Monday’s Boston Marathon as a part of Team MR8.
Currently, the Martin Richard Foundation is working to fund a new park on the waterfront next to the Boston Children’s Museum.
“It’s going to be an incredible park. It’s going to be beautiful,” said Bill Richard.
Ground will be broken for the park this fall with an expected completion date sometime in 2017.
Anyone interested in helping fund the park can text the word “MARTIN” to 91999 or visit the Martin Richard Foundation’s website.
Overall, Team MR8’s goal was to raise $500,000 during this year’s Boston Marathon. As of Monday morning, they’ve raised more than $700,000.
Bill Richard Speaks with WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Joe Mathieu