Josh Watson set a personal goal to run a marathon before he turned 18, so in 2014, he signed up through the Semper Fi Fund (SFF) to run the 40th Marine Corps Marathon. Josh has been an active community athlete and volunteer with the Fund ever since. Now a Naval ROTC Midshipman at the College of the Holy Cross, Josh has brought the SFF’s crucial mission to his unit and is leading a team of 13 classmates at Marine Corps Marathon. Many in his team are running their first marathon.
Josh says, “Like many kids who grew up in a Marine Corps household, the Semper Fi Fund was a name commonly heard, but I really didn’t understand the mission of the Fund or why it was important, until two nights before my first race at the Pasta Dinner for the wounded service members. When I first saw the athletes, many with prosthetic limbs, and realized I was going to be running alongside them and wearing the same cloth, I knew it was no longer about me, but for them. That night left an impact on me which will never be erased. The physical and moral courage those warriors possessed to run a marathon, some less than a year after being injured, was a mental picture which will stick with me for the rest of my life.”
In 2015, Josh’s team from Holy Cross raised over $10,000 for the SFF. This year so far, they have raised over $12,000 and continue to fundraise in order to meet and exceed their goal of $15,000.
Of the team’s fundraising success, Josh says, “When you get a group of people united behind one common goal, the motivation easily falls into place. Representing and supporting the SFF has been my team’s primary goal from the beginning. Running the marathon was a secondary goal.”
The team has pledged to #RunWithTheFund to show their appreciation “for those who have sacrificed everything for us to live our lives in freedom. For the 13 of us running, this is an extremely small token of our appreciation and compares in no way to what these American Heroes have gone though. It is our way to say `Thank You’, and it is our absolute honor to run side by side with these great Americans.”
In the words of Holy Cross team member William McAvoy, who is running his first marathon, “The most satisfying part of the experience was realizing I am able to run distances farther than ever. Prior to this, I would never imagine the possibility of me running farther than six miles, much less 26.2!” Another team member, Garrett Hawley says, “Fundraising for such a great cause has made me realize how motivating running can be when you are running for something much bigger than yourself.”
When asked if he has any training tips to share, Josh says “Start early, run often and stick to your plan. Many of our team members are running their first marathon on October 22nd and generally, everyone has agreed that training for a marathon is much different than anything else. Sticking to a plan is key, especially with those weekend long runs!”
Learn more and support this remarkable group of college students HERE.