Freed to Run takes on 24-hour challenge to raise money to help seniors facing housing issues

A Jacksonville attorney and a team of marathon runners are once again hitting the pavement for the annual Freed to Run challenge, but this time things are a little different.

Michael Freed, founder of the marathon, will tell anyone that athleticism did not come naturally to him, but that didn’t stop him from founding an event with such a good cause.

“Definitely not a natural-born athlete, not even an evolved athlete. I’m just a guy who runs,” he said.

Despite not being a natural at heart, Freed has gotten pretty good at his craft. Typically, his “Freed to Run” challenge involved running six marathons over 6 days all across North Florida to raise money to help pay for legal services for sick children.

This time, the challenge will go toward helping senior citizens facing housing issues such as reverse mortgage foreclosure, door-to-door scams, wrongful evictions, poor living conditions and discrimination.

The event will support the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid’s Shelter for Elders endowment.

Freed said having an attorney help you through these issues can make all the difference.

“The Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, which is what we work with, turns away so many more people than they’re able to serve. Not because they don’t have the heart for them, but simply because they don’t have the resources,” he said.

That’s not the only change for the marathon. Instead of running multiple marathons from Tallahassee to Jacksonville over several days, this year’s event is 24 hours long and runners will run laps around the Duval County Courthouse.

“People can come by, participate for a great cause,” he said.

Individual participants and relay teams will raise funds based on a challenge to complete half-mile laps around the courthouse in a period of 12 or 24 hours.

The distance covered by each individual or team will be measured by counting the number of laps they complete around the courthouse at any pace they choose.

And like Freed, participants do not need any running credentials to lace up their shoes.

The goal is to raise $180,000 and about 80% of that amount has already been donated.

“Every time I see it go up by even a dollar, it warms my heart,” Freed said.

The 24-hour challenge will take place from Friday, Nov. 17 to Saturday, Nov. 18. Click here to learn more or register.

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