America Supports You: '21 Run Salute' Raises Funds
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2004 An Orlando, Fla., running enthusiast is showing her support for U.S. servicemembers involved in the global war on terror by running 21 marathons during her "21 Run Salute" campaign.
Shirley Pratt said she intends to run the marathons to raise money for two of her favorite charities that help troops and the families of fallen troops: Operation USO Care Package and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS.
In addition to running the marathons herself, Pratt said she's also organizing and coaching "virtual teams" of runners who dedicate their races to the troops. Her goal is for each virtual team to run 21 races of various distances.
So far, Pratt has run six marathons and raised more than $8,000 for the two charities. She said she hopes to raise $21,000 by Memorial Day weekend, when she will run her 21st marathon for the program.
Pratt said interest in the effort, which began in September, is picking up. Virtual teams from seven states and another in Europe have signed on. Each member donates $10 to join the team and receives a 21 Run Salute button and Support Our Troops pin, as well as discounts from a variety of program sponsors.
Participating teams also qualify for monthly drawings for prizes, an effort Pratt said awards team members for joining the campaign and encourages them to help raise additional funds for the 21 Run Salute effort.
"Running 21 marathons in nine months will be a challenge, but our troops and their families are the ones enduring incredible hardships and making real sacrifices on our behalf," said Pratt.