A big thank you to everyone who has given to support Bottom Line.

GOAL: $10,000      Raised: $11,301

The big day is here.  The Boston Athletic Association is nervous about runners being safe in what could be the hottest day the race has seen, well, in its history.  So we are all being reminded hourly to take it very slow.  And that’s exactly what I plan on doing.  While thinking about all the support I have received, and our Bottom Line team has received, over the months of training.

Thank you.

Right on Hereford.

Left on Boylston.

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Wow.  We did it.  A lot of you stepped up big time over the last few days and we passed the $10,000 mark.  There is of course, still room for others to give, so if you missed out, please still hit me at Crowdrise or mail me a check (details in the message below).

But I suppose this means I really do have to run Monday.  Better get some stretching in.

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With the Boston Marathon just six five four days away, I would like your attention one last time.

First, for those who have given, thank you.  I am as ready as I’ll ever be for 26.2 miles on Monday.  I have learned a lot about my body over my four months of training.  At one point it more or less broke down, and since then I’ve had a team of medical pros helping me put it back together so I can finish the race.  Consequently my training has involved as much swimming as running, but I’m getting healthier and healthier each day.  To put it in car terminology, my engine is stronger than ever, even if the chassis needs a fair bit of work.  I won’t be aiming for the time I was expecting before the body broke down. If you thought, as my cousin Glenn did, that your check only gets cashed if I win, think again.  But I’m going to finish this thing and that’s what counts.

More important than any of my running news, I have raised 9,000 dollars for Bottom Line, and I could not be prouder of all of us for supporting this organization.  Last week Rainey and I attended the Bottom Line annual dinner and it was simply amazing.  The student speakers were inspiring.  These Boston kids, many of them against incredible odds, are going to college and they are succeeding.  Bottom Line helped them get in, and Bottom Line counselors are keeping them on track and focused so that they graduate and then go far in the world.  In short, these kids are moving themselves and their families into the middle class because of their hard work, and with Bottom Line’s guidance.

I am still hoping to raise another $1,000 to bring my grand total to $10,000.  For those of you who have not yet given, I am asking for your donation.  So far I have received support from teenagers and grandparents of teenagers.  From runners and walkers and sitters.  From former colleagues, close friends and family, and from friends of friends who simply decided this cause was worth supporting.  Sophia’s Grotto, Russo’s Market, and The Daily Show stepped up big time to support my fundraising.  And even public radio workers took a break from asking for money to give some money themselves.  I’d love to see some new people join the list of donors.

You can send a check, made out to Bottom Line, to me at 41 Amherst Street, Boston, MA 02131. Or give through my Crowdrise fundraising site, here.

This has been quite a journey for me, and I would not have even made it past the first mile without my community of well-wishers and supporters.  I can’t thank you enough for your generosity and encouragement.  Although, of course, this isn’t really about me, but about the students who are working so hard for something most of us take for granted. If I reach my goal, we will help another ten first-generation college students Get in, Graduate, and Go Far.

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Special Brunch-a-tunity

Our Boston friends know that Sophia’s Grotto is our favorite restaurant in the city.  It helps our spirits to have Sophia’s just a couple of blocks away from our house.  Sonya and Joe Garufi have become great friends and providers (of open face lobster ravioli, ziti boscaiola, arancini…).  Now they are lending their support to our efforts to raise more money for public school kids via Bottom Line.  They are donating free brunch for four at Sophia’s to one lucky supporter of my run.  Here is how this will work: anyone who makes a donation between April 2 and April 9 will be entered into a raffle for the brunch.  If you have given before, throw in a small additional donation and you are in the raffle.  If you have not given before, scroll down this page to learn more about my efforts, and give what you can to Bottom Line.

You can donate by going to my Crowdrise page:

http://www.crowdrise.com/TeamGoFar/fundraiser/GrahamGriffith

Or by mailing a check, made out to Bottom Line, to me at 41 Amherst Street, Boston, MA 02131.  If you mail a check before Monday, April 9, send me an email and I will enter your name into the raffle.

The winner of the raffle will get a delicious brunch, but the real winners will be the students who benefit from your generosity.  Thanks to Bottom Line they will Get In, Graduate, and Go Far.

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Marie, Thomas, and Elizabeth aren’t old enough to make financial gifts to my marathon run.  They still wanted to help, so they donated their time and artistic talent.  With the help of their mother Kit, they recorded this song for me:

https://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F35463855 Go graham go, by Marie, Thomas, and Elizabeth by GWhit

If you want to follow their lead, go to SoundCloud and record your inspirational track.

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Dear friends, family, and colleagues,

As some of you know, I am running the Boston Marathon this coming Patriots’ Day (April 16, 2012) to raise funds for an organization Rainey and I deeply believe in: Bottom Line.  I am hoping that you can donate in support of my effort.   You can simply make a donation via this website. But first let me explain a little about Bottom Line, and let you know what I am doing to make sure I complete the marathon (those of you who have already donated may wish to skip to the second part so that you can see how I am honoring your support with my hard work).

Bottom Line has been giving one-on-one support to students in Boston public high schools for 14 years, and recently expanded into Worcester and New York City. Bottom Line works with low-income students whose parents did not go to college.  They’ve had great success, in large part because not only do they work with the students for several hours each week to help them get into a four-year college, they also continue to support them during their years in college, and help them land their first jobs after graduation. Consequently, the Bottom Line college graduation rate is 74%, nearly twice the graduation rate for Boston students as a whole. Rainey and I have met and heard the stories of some of the students, and we are always impressed and moved.  You can read some success stories here.

Our support for Bottom Line comes from our deep belief that communities need to do right by all the children in our midst, not just those that share our bloodlines.  It costs Bottom Line approximately $1,000 to support one student for 1 year.  I have committed to raising $6,000, but I am aiming to raise $10,000.  That would support 10 students.  Thanks to those of you who have already donated, I am nearly halfway to my goal.

Now, a little about my training.

Bottom Line runners get to work with a top-notch marathon coach.  We train under the guidance of Rick Muhr during weekly runs, along with runners from some other charity teams.  Rick is inspiring, though he may seem a little nutty to non-runners (he once ran 100 miles, on a track, to raise money for leukemia research).

But I have found I need a little extra work, so I have hired a personal trainer, and I thought you might like to hear a little about him.

Meet Coach Jake:

Coach Jake (son of our friends Debbie and Jon) takes a tough-love approach.  He times me on my runs, demonstrates proper technique:

and peppers me with inspirational messages, like “run faster,” “why are you so slow? speed up,”

and “right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot,” and “when I push this button on the watch, I can make it go back to zero.”

At times, Jake’s training regimen can be a bit unorthodox, but it’s tailor-made to the motivations of each individual runner.

He is a big believer in the donut-and-the-stick method, so we not only get a lot of training in, we support local bakeries along the way:

Coach Jake pushes me to my limit, but we have a good time during the training, especially at the end when he lets me rest.

So please, make all my work with Jake worthwhile and support me as I work to support Bottom Line.  Again, you can donate at my Crowdrise website, here, or you can mail a check, made out to Bottom Line, to me at:

Graham Griffith
41 Amherst St
Boston, MA 02131.
Follow my progress here, on Twitter (@GWhit), and over at Facebook.
Thank you.