Propelled by the loving spirit of a little boy he once knew, Dorchester’s Steve Datish will soon begin training for the 2015 Boston Marathon.
“He was a compassionate kid. Whether he was playing sports or with his siblings, he never complained, and he always had a smile on his face,” said Datish of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was one of three people killed when twin explosions rang out through the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Datish is one of 59 charity runners on the roster for Team MR8, a group of runners that will represent The Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation at next year’s race. Though an avid runner, it will be the first time the 45-year-old software consultant tackles the Boston Marathon.
A father of two boys, aged 11 and 13, Datish has been a close friend of the Richard family since he moved to Dorchester 14 years ago.
“They welcomed us to the neighborhood. Our children were very close in age. Martin was very close to our child. Being so close to them, and seeing how they responded to this tragedy… it’s the least I can do,” said Datish.
For his part, Datish hopes to raise $7,500 for the foundation, which was formed in January by Richard’s parents as a way to invest in local education, athletics and community. Last year, Team MR8 raised $1.25 million for the charity.
According to Richard family spokesman Larry Marchese, Team MR8 runners fall into one of two categories.
“Either they’ve experienced a similar, painful loss of a family member, or they are folks who were so touched by the Richard family’s perseverance and determination to honor their son,” said Marchese.
The team will carry out its first training session this weekend.
Donations can be made atwww.firstgiving.com/TeamMR8.