By ALEX SPONSELLER Back in May, local marathon runner Joe Sullivan, nicknamed Aloha Joe, ran his own personal race in his Oakland Beach neighborhood to raise money for local first responders. Sullivan has been running marathons for eight years now and
By ALEX SPONSELLER Back in May, local marathon runner Joe Sullivan, nicknamed Aloha Joe, ran his own personal race in his Oakland Beach neighborhood to raise money for local first responders.
Sullivan has been running marathons for eight years now and was hoping to run the Boston Marathon before the COVID-19 pandemic put it on hold, as well as all other scheduled races to this point.
The event was virtual and was live streamed on Facebook, with all donations going directly toward providing lunches to first responders. Donations were made both on Facebook and GoFundMe.
With the help of Dave’s Bar and Grill and Stop & Shop of Newport, Sullivan and his small team of volunteers have been making their rounds to deliver these packed lunches and have stopped by places such as Kent County Hospital and the Warwick Police and Fire stations throughout the city.
“We started with the Warwick police headquarters, then the Warwick fire headquarters right there at Apponaug circle. Then we went to the fire station on West Shore Road where I run by all the time. Then we will have five other fire stations and another hospital to go,” said Sullivan, who estimated a grand total budget of over 500 lunches.
Sullivan has been accompanied by his girlfriend Jen, as well as Mike Forrester of Dave’s Bar and Grill.
Although his racing schedule was not quite what he hoped it would be this year, Sullivan is excited to be able to give back and make a difference in Warwick and Rhode Island.
“It definitely exceeded expectations. Having never done something like this before, it’s been a very well-received thing wherever we go. Donations are still coming in as we still are doing deliveries. It has been fun, it was a fun race to do for a great cause. People have been very appreciative and it’s been well-received,” said Sullivan.
As for the future, he still aims to race in all 50 states and has not ruled out holding a similar event down the road.
“It’s not off the table to do something like this again. I am a very active marathon runner, my goal is still to do one in every state, but right now they are all cancelled which is frustrating. This is the time of year where I would usually be wrapping up my training, usually I am training in September and October for a November race, it’s a big hobby in my life that is missing right now,” said Sullivan. “But to do another charity race, it’s definitely something that I could see myself doing again in the future, it’s a lot of work between training, getting volunteers, doing deliveries. It is a lot of organizing.”