Long time South End resident Doug Murphy ran his first ever marathon back in April to support non-profit organization Samaritans, which supports suicide prevention.
Murphy explained on his GoFundMe page that Samaritans is an important organization to him because his wife Jeanine’s mother lost her life to suicide 33 years ago. Murphy and his family have long been involved with the organization, and he said he felt it was time to contribute in an even greater way.
Murphy said that he decided last October that he wanted to run the race in support of the Samaritans, and he spent the winter training for the marathon in anticipation of running the traditional Boston marathon route, but when COVID hit, he realized that would no longer be possible. Instead, he ran a 26.2 mile loop around the Charles River with his wife and two daughters driving around Storrow Drive to provide water stops. He finished the race in a little over four hours.
Prior to running in April, Murphy said that his longest run was “maybe about eight miles.” He said the training became difficult as it reached January and got much colder. As COVID hit, he said that no matter what happened with the race, the most important factor that remained was finishing his fundraising goal for Samaritans.
Murphy is part of a 14 person team that ran for Samaritans, and he had a personal goal of $25,000 that was just very recently surpassed. After running in April, he remained a part of the Boston Athletic Association and ran a half marathon as part of the Samaritans team for the official virtual Boston marathon earlier this month. He said that some of his team members ran the full marathon length as they had not previously done so.
He said that it was “absolutely amazing” to see the outpouring of support and donations that were garnered through social media and people who shared their stories with him through email and various social media platforms.
Murphy also joined the Samaritans board in February of this year, and said that raising money for Samaritans is more important now than ever, as many nonprofits are losing money due to cancellation of fundraising events. Many are now virtual, including the upcoming Samaritans 5K, and Murphy said that people have “stepped up and donated which is great for fundraising.”
He said that in seeing a “significant increase in people that need help and support” throughout the pandemic, “I wanted to participate in a much bigger way, so I decided to join the board and also run the marathon as part of contributing.”
He said that Samaritans, like many other organizations, “had to go from an office setting and support center setting” to a virtual one overnight and maintain calls and chats from people who reach out. He said that volume “grew substantially from March to June.”
Murphy said that he hopes to run the proper Boston Marathon when it returns to normal and is safe to do so.
He also said that his wife, Jeanine, is a runner and has run the marathon before. He said his three kids have also expressed interest in running the race someday.
Overall, more than $212,000 was raised by the team by press time for Samaritans, and the money will help fund programs including trained volunteers who provide support for those who feel suicidal, “SafePlace meetings and Survivor to Survivor visits” that provide support t those who have lost a loved one to suicide, and free suicide prevention workshops, according to Murphy’s GoFundMe page.
Samaritans is holding its annual 5K Run/Walk fundraiser virtually this year on Saturday, September 26. For more information, visit https://support.samaritanshope.org/event/2020-5k-run-walk-for-suicide-prevention/e264013.