I Run 4 Michael is a non-profit organization founded in January 2013 by Tim Boyle, who was inspired to run for more than health and weight-loss by a viral meme saying, “I run because I can. When I get tired, I remember those who can’t run, what they would give to have this simple gift I take for granted, and I run harder for them.” When Tim shared the meme, Michael, a 50-something man with Down Syndrome, replied, “You can run for me any time!”
Launched as a private group of 10 runners and buddies with special needs (20 total) who shared workouts and health updates in a private setting, IR4 rapidly grew to over 22,000 members and nearly 7,000 matches, with 3,500 athletes waiting, within 18 months.
As of September 2014, the four branches of IR4 serve over 30,000 members and 11,000 matches collectively, across all 50 states and in 28 countries:
In I Run 4 Michael, Athletes of all levels and kinds – runners, walkers, yogis, triathletes, etc – are paired with children and adults with physical, mental, and developmental special-needs ranging from Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy to Autism Spectrum disorders, to physical deformities and disorders like lost limbs and congenital organ disorders, to lesser-known disorders like AHC.
Through Kerri On: I Run 4 Remembrance, athletes are paired with families who’ve lost members to special-needs conditions, sudden death, and other tragedies, including many members who began in I Run 4 Michael, and whose journeys through loss we’ve shared.
At IR4 Siblings: The Unsung Heroes, athletes are paired with the brothers and sisters of special-needs children, whose stories and lives so often go unheard in the shadow of their siblings.
Through the IR4 Virtual Race Series, all our members in the IR4 family, athletes and buddies, matched or not, are invited 6-8 times per year to race their preferred distance in their own time to benefit non-profit organizations that fund research, education, and aid for our special-needs members. To date, IR4 has donated over $15k to the International Down Syndrome Coalition, CureAHC, Make-a-Wish, and Special Olympics.
Welcome to the Revolution!