Local man runs to honor marathon victims

Mendota Heights resident Justin Joyce posed with his wife, Betsy, and sons Shannon and Jack after completing his first marathon last year. He’s running again this year to raise money for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. (submitted photo)

A Mendota Heights resident will be pounding the pavement this fall to help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Justin Joyce, 31, will be participating in the 32nd annual Medtronic Twin Cities marathon Oct. 6 to raise funds for the victims of the April 15 attack. The fact many victims were waiting for their loved ones at the marathon’s finish line struck a chord with Justin, who ran his first marathon last year in the Twin Cities.

“I remembered my wife Betsy and kids were waiting for me at the finish line, and I told them I would finish,” he says. “The (Boston) coverage of family members, kids, all waiting for their moms, dads, aunts, uncles, whoever... they were all innocent bystanders. That coverage made me sick.”

In addition, Justin was struck by the fact that despite the chaos after the bombs exploded, people were running to help the victims, not running away from the explosions.

Despite the huge amount of donations that have poured into Boston since the tragedy, Justin says a gap remains since prosthetics for the victims are so expensive.

“We wanted to provide any sort of help we could, regardless of how minor it was,” he says.

‘I am not a runner’

While he’s eager to help, Justin says the approach is an unlikely one for him.

“I am not a runner,” he admits. “I have never been a runner. Running a marathon was on my bucket list, and last year my goal was just to finish in one piece.”

He did finish, and later told friends, “Why anyone would want to do that more than once is completely beyond me.”

But Justin now has a reason to run again. He and his wife have even thrown in $500 to encourage others to donate. So far they have raised about $1,300 with their matching funds.

In addition to donations, Justin is hoping to find other runners willing to join him Oct. 6.

“The more the merrier,” he says. “I’d love to have a group of us carrying a banner for the Boston victims.”

For more information on running or donations, contact Justin at 877-656-3442.

Heather Edwards can be reached at southwest@lillienews.com.

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