Running miles for Will

Jenae Marshall, News Writer

People use different strategies to stay focused when running races. One way Xavier Spanish teacher Mrs. Jaclyn Richmond keeps herself motivated when running is by having a list of people who helped her with the loss of her baby son, Will. Each person represents a mile she runs.

Her son was born with Complete Trisomy 13, one of the rarest Trisomies, and lived to be eight weeks old. Her method of thinking of all the people who have assisted her with the loss of her son became especially important when she ran the Chicago Marathon shortly after Will passed.

Richmond knew she wanted to participate in the Chicago Marathon and was aware she had to qualify or be picked by the lottery system to run. Soon after she had set this goal, she got an email that said, “Run the Chicago Marathon for Will” in her email inbox. When the email said “Will” it was not directed at her son Will, but a little boy also named Will. This was a boy who doctors were doing research trials for and searching for a cure for his illness. Richmond and her husband, Mark, were able to meet Will’s family and thought that if this family needed help for their Will, then they could help them in memory of their own Will.

One of Richmond’s students urged her to wear a shoe chip to keep her motivated during her race and gave her one as a gift.

“I thought this was a great idea, so I got my sister, who was running the race with me, one also,” Richmond said.

This started the trend of people wearing shoe chips during races for the Richmonds. People who run with shoe chips would tell them how many miles Will has run. Now when people run big races, the Richmonds will give them a shoe chip to run with in memory of their son.

Richmond and her husband love running and see it as a fun family activity to keep themselves motivated and active. 

“The last race I ran I thought about all of the children of St. Jude that I was running for,” Mark said. “It was a good perspective to remind me when I got tired that I have healthy legs and lungs, while others are not so fortunate.” 

Together they have trained over 1,000 miles in nearly 15 states. They are ready to see how many miles they can run for Will.