run for beigel
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas cross country team after the race {Ken Webster photography}

By Claire Nana

Friends remember a beloved community member and a hero with a 5K run on Saturday.

With Marjory Stoneman Douglas back on the national news, the victim’s families and survivors from the 1200 building are reminded once again of the horrible massacre.

Beigel, who was 35, was a geography teacher and cross country coach, was loved by his students, and died a hero after unlocking his classroom door and letting students in to hide from the gunman.

In the wake of his loss, Beigel’s cross-country team quickly created a race in honor of their beloved coach and mentor. Beigel was from Long Island, NY, and Saturday’s Run4Beigel will be held in East Islip.

Since last year, both the Parkland race and the New York race have also been held virtually. “It is held virtually on both of these dates, all over the world,” said Doug Eaton, race director.

Race proceeds raised go to fund the Scott J. Beigel memorial fund. “The sole mission of this charity is to send disadvantaged children who have been affected by gun violence to summer camp,” said Eaton, who added that Beigel was a lifelong camper, counselor, and then volunteer at summer camps. In addition, he volunteered to teach children in South Africa for several years.

Eaton, who has been the race director for two years, has seen the event grow substantially. “Last year in Parkland and virtually, from all over the world, we had about 750 participants,” he said. “The event this year will bring in excess of 1,000 participants.”

In 2020, the event raised close to $250,000, which sent 155 children to camp. “The goal this year is to raise $325,000,” said Eaton. To date, approximately $600,000 has been raised.

“This event is unique because of the positive energy and love that surrounds it,” said Eaton. As Scott’s friends, family, and supporters come together once again, they will not only celebrate his life but also continue his legacy of protecting, educating, and mentoring children.

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