Gloucester natives and veteran marathon runners Derrick Rowe and Kevin Pelletier wanted to lend a helping hand for their next 26.2 mile run.
The pair has already run the Boston and Chicago Marathons together and have now recruited friend and Gloucester native Matt Woundy to run the US Marine Core Marathon in Washington, D.C. on October 27. For this run, they will have some extra motivation to cross the finish line as they are running to help out a family friend in Randy Burns, who is also a Gloucester native.
Burns was injured in a roofing accident in 2013 that has left him wheel chair bound and unable to work. The 44-year-old is well known around the city's sports scene, most notably as a Pee Wee football referee in the old Cape Ann Pee Wee football league for decades.
The Gloucester trio is looking to raise money to help Burns' expenses and also to make his bathroom fully handicap accessible.
"Randy is a great guy and a great family friend," said Rowe, who got the ball rolling on the marathon fundraising efforts. "He's had it rough and he was a laborer. We thought that was a perfect opportunity to help out a member of the coumminty and run for a good cause."
A Facebook group "Running for Randy Burns" has been set up to take donations as the group trains for the race in just under three weeks time.
The trio will be running the 44th annual Marine Corps Marathon, which begins in Arlington, VA and finishes up in the Nation's Capital. The race is expected to draw around 30,000 runners from all over the world. The marathon, which is organized by the USMC, is the largest marathon in the world that does not offer prize money.
This will be the fourth marathon for Rowe and the third with Pelletier, while Woundy will be running a marathon for the first time.
Rowe has ran the Chicago, New York and most recently the Boston Marathon in 2018 so he is no stranger to the long, grueling races.
He started running while serving in the United States Navy and kept that passion going when he got out.
"It's always something I've been drawn to," Rowe said. "It's even better when I get to train with my friends."
How to Donate
Those looking to donate to the cause can visit https://www.facebook.com/donate/2743339325690411/ or search for "Running for Randy Burns." Donations will be accepted through the date of the race, October 27. Click the donate icon.
Those wishing to donate by check can send to Mr. Robert Burns, 6 Neptune Place, Gloucester.