A Jacksonville man has his eyes set on the Humana Rock n Roll New Orleans St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Half Marathon in March and needs your help!
Half marathons are nothing new to 58-year-old Bob Beard, who tells The Source he went from an occasional jog on the treadmill to big race runner after some convincing from his daughter.
“Five years ago Lindsey (Butcher) talked me into running a 5K race for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I’d never completed more than three miles so I knew it would be a challenge. To our surprise the race was actually a 10K! After Lindsey and I finished the race we knew we were hooked.”
It wasn’t long before Beard moved up to half marathons that took him around the United States. “I’ve particapated in Rock n Roll Series runs in Las Vegas, Chicago, St. Louis and Nashville. The actual St. Jude Memphis half marathon is in December and I’ve done that for the last three years.”
In his first year of half marathons Beard and his daughter raised around $2,500 each for St. Jude. “Those first few races were really special for me. I don’t always keep up with my daughter but I think I do pretty good for a guy my age. Nashville is always one of my favorite places to run. The race takes you through downtown and around the St. Jude campus. There are always a bunch of kids outside going through treatments cheering you on. I tear up every time I pass it.”
That’s not the only thing motivating Beard to run for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. “My nephew Timothy died when he was three from Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I was just a teenager when he passed away. There wasn’t much known about AML at that time, but thanks to St. Jude, the survival rate is now much better.”
Beard encourages everyone to join the Rock n Roll series runs for St. Jude. “There are training programs you can find online. They get you comfortable running around five miles and then 12 weeks before the race you start building your distances.”
Even though Beard admits his knees are “almost shot”, honoring his nephew and helping thousands of sick children around the world is more than enough to push him through the finish line.
“Most people try and get their personal best, but at my age, I’m just focused on raising money for the kids. I’m not shooting to break any records or trying a full marathon. I love running in the different climates and environments. Jacksonville is so flat, so running in hilly terrains like North Dakota and Minneapolis provide some new challenges.”
At the time of the interview Beard was vacationing in Florida. He said the 70 degree weather was something he could certainly get use to.
With five years of half marathons under his belt, Beard estimates he’s raised around $20,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“Facebook has been a huge tool for raising donations. I also couldn’t do this without the amazing support of my family and friends. They are my biggest fans and always waiting for me at the end of each race.”
To help support Beard’s run in New Orleans visit heroes.stJude.org/Bobbo-NewOrleans.