By Zaneta Jung
For the second year, Boston’s Team Esplanade ran the Boston Marathon, as the only environmental charity in the famed race. The big leaf on the team’s T-shirts offered a clue to the mission aiding the park along the Charles River.
“Many people come to the Esplanade to run,” said Jeryl Oristaglio, president of the Esplanade Association. “And we wanted to join in on the Boston Marathon to embrace the runners’ community.
In 2007, we applied to the Boston Athletics Association to be part of the marathon and were accepted for the 2008 marathon.”
Each of the runners had a $3,000 fundraising target. The association received applications ranging from first-time marathoners to veteran runners. And it will take awhile after race-day blisters heal before the group knows whether it reaches the overall $60,000 goal.
“We reviewed [runner] applications mainly on two criteria: fundraising goals and fundraising capability,” said Chris Murton, head organizer for Team Esplanade.
The money collected through the marathon goes towards the Esplanade Association programs and ” . . .programs, such as yoga and dance classes, kickball, and model sailing,” Murton added. “We’re also trying to create new programs for the community as well. It also goes to the active volunteer program, and while it is through volunteers, we still need to buy equipment to facilitate the program. The money also goes towards the large-scale programs such rebuilding docks and playgrounds, as well as operating services for the association.”
Each runner has an account on Firstgiving.com where they can post bios, pictures, videos, and other materials that might attract donations.
Tim Horn, a four- year Boston Marathon runner, raised a little bit more than $5,000 by Sunday morning and was continuing to look for more donations.
“I contacted friends and business contacts I consider friends,” said Horn. “It’s pretty easy; at least it was for me… You have to truly believe in your cause to ask people for money. It’s a hard thing, but if you truly believe, you can do it.”
Belief in a greener environment is why Rick Muhr, a 40-year-old Boston Marathon veteran and coach, left Team in Training this year to help train Team Esplanade runners.
“I’m certainly very interested in the environment and being green, and that resonated with me with the Esplanade Association,” said Muhr. “That’s a very important piece of property that people take for granted… and I wanted to help with their programs.”
Thomas Kershaw, proprietor of Cheers Beacon Hill, is not only a neighbor, but a longtime advocate of the Esplanade Association.
“I ran on the Esplanade every day for 20 years until my hip gave out. The Esplanade is actually where I learned to sail through its program!” he said. “It’s the nicest park in Boston.”