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Marathon effort raises thousands to support refugees
April 25, 2011

Marathon effort raises thousands to support refugees
John McLaughlin competes in the 2011 Boston Marathon. (Jim Rhoades — Coolrunning.com)
"Getting to mile 21, top of Heartbreak Hill, Boston College, and family members waiting for me is all doable. Then the next five miles are tough. And the last few are really, really tough. Your legs just want you to stop making them work. The mental battle is a big piece of it. ... I remained injury-free and I'm grateful that my health allows me to do it," Mr. McLaughlin said.

(Washington, D.C) April 25, 2011 — Boston runner John McLaughlin raised $6,470 — so far, cash donations are being tallied and credit card donations are still open — for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA by asking people to donate "a dollar a mile" during his Boston Marathon run on April 18. The money raised will be used to support Jesuit Refugee Service projects around the world. This is the second time Mr. McLaughlin has run for refugee relief, and JRS/USA is grateful to him and the more than 170 people who donated in his name.

Mr. McLaughlin said he had two goals for the 2011 marathon: one was to finish, the second was to "try to get in under four hours, I hit both of them, coming in at 3:39:19."

"John used his passion to participate in JRS’s mission of accompaniment. His marathon effort is a wonderful example of how one person can use their talents, passions, and interests to change the lives of those less fortunate," said Cindy Rice, Development Director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. 

"Maybe it is just me ... but the marathon is not easy," Mr. McLaughlin emailed after the race. "I'm reminded of that most during the actual event itself. Somehow all the training runs just aren't the same as the real thing. It starts out nice: the first 10 miles are fine, the next 10 get more difficult. Getting to mile 21, top of Heartbreak Hill, Boston College, and family members waiting for me is all doable. Then the next five miles are tough. And the last few are really, really tough. Your legs just want you to stop making them work. The mental battle is a big piece of it. Even when you know recall the phrase 'the satisfaction will last longer than the pain,' you still want to stop." 

"Somehow it gets done. Not prettily. No personification of grace for me. But no personification of torture either. I remained injury-free and I'm grateful that my health allows me to do it," Mr. McLaughlin said.

Mr. McLaughlin raised more that $4,900 to benefit JRS programs worldwide during his 2009 marathon effort. "This is definitely a partnership. Sure, I'm doing the running, but it doesn't mean much by itself. The running becomes worth something only when others partner by means of donations," said Mr. McLaughlin.

"JRS is doing the work of the Gospel in a very concrete way," Mr. McLaughlin said. "JRS is working with people and in situations that most of us don’t think of. It is good to know that someone is accompanying these forgotten people and advocating on their behalf," he said.

JRS/USA is one of 10 regions of Jesuit Refugee Service, an international Catholic organization with a mission to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people around the world. 

Mr. McLaughlin, who is married and the father of three daughters, is a Boston College graduate, and currently works in the IT Dept. supporting Human Resources at the college. 

Mr. McLaughlin was a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for several years. He started his JVC experience at the St. Paul Mission on the Fort Belknap Reservation near Hays, Montana, doing whatever was needed, from driving the school bus to helping to maintain the school and other properties. 

His next post for JVC was at the Dismas House in Nashville, Tenn. “Dismas is the name that tradition gives to the ‘good thief’ that was crucified with Jesus,” he said. “Dismas House works with people coming out of prison to help them transition to a better, more productive life. Dismas is based on the idea that people need community,” he said. 

After the Dismas House, Mr. McLaughlin was on the staff of JVC South, where he helped to run the JVC in the 10 southern states that coincide with the New Orleans province of the Society of Jesus. 






Press Contact Information
Mr Christian Fuchs
communications@jrsusa.org
202-462-0400 ext. 5946