By Jill Fox
In honor of their high school teacher and coach, Scott Beigel, killed in the Parkland shooting on February 14, 2018, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas cross country team started Run 4 Beigel.
The event, entirely student-run until this year, became an official 5K in 2019. Now run by race director Doug Eaton, they hope to bring the event to a much larger scale and raise even more money for the Scott J. Beigel Memorial Fund.
“With most of the cross country kids moving on, we needed it to keep going,” said Eaton. “It’s moving from a hometown event for kids who loved their coach and wanted to honor him to an international effort.”
Eaton, who met Beigel’s mother, Linda Schulman, after his work on the MSD Heroes challenge, said he developed immense respect for the family and wanted to stay involved.
“I don’t think there’s anything more relevant than helping parents honor their son,” he said.
Due to Covid restrictions, this year’s virtual competition allows the Run 4 Beigel to include participants from all over the world, laying the groundwork for growth.
With 400 participants in 2020, the in-person event raised $19,000, and in 2021, they aim for 800 to 1,000 participants and $50,000 through donations, sponsorships, and the race. Also, every dollar raised is going right to the Scott J. Beigel Memorial Fund because they have a donor covering all of their costs.
Proceeds from the fund send disadvantaged children affected by gun violence to summer camp in the hopes of giving them positive memories and keeping them out of harm’s way when they are not in school.
Schulman said her son loved camp. He attended one in Pennsylvania for over 25 summers, first as a camper and later as a counselor.
“Last year, we sent 54 kids to camp, and this year, we’re hoping to triple that,” she said. “It’s not how much we make. It’s how many kids we send to camp.”
The Run 4 Beigel takes place from Saturday, February 6, through Sunday, February 14. Attendees can walk or run anywhere they choose, use a wheelchair or a treadmill to complete the race, and there is no competitive element.
Registration is available online through February 14, at $35 per person and $10 for Marjory Stoneman Douglas students and staff.
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.