Freeman, the Founder of the Boston Marathon Shadow Run, will Receive the Award on Thursday, April 11.
BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) today announced that Lt. Colonel Rodney Freeman will receive this year’s Patriots’ Award at the official opening ceremony of the 117th Boston Marathon®, “Cheers to the Boston Marathon,” held at the Hampshire House on Thursday, April 11. Freeman founded a shadow version of the Boston Marathon, which is held on or near Patriots’ Day for United States armed forces personnel stationed overseas.
A York, Maine native, Freeman is an Army Lieutenant Colonel and director of Human Resources for the New Hampshire National Guard. He had begun a training plan for the 2005 Boston Marathon before being deployed to Iraq. Stationed at Camp Adder, formerly an Iraqi air base near the city of Nasiriah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, Freeman established a shadow version of the Boston Marathon in late 2004. The first shadow marathon was held in April 2005.
Since 2005, thousands of overseas servicemen and servicewomen have participated in the Boston Marathon Shadow Run, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, or on a ship at sea. The Boston Athletic Association has provided Boston Marathon start and finish banners, bibs, tee shirts, medals, and finisher certificates for participants in the shadow marathon each year since 2005. Thanks to service personnel with New England roots and the outreach of the B.A.A, the shadow marathon is becoming part of the history of the world’s oldest annual marathon.
Freeman will receive the Patriots’ Award on Thursday night at the Hampshire House in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Awarded by the B.A.A. and the City of Boston each year since 2002 to a New England-based individual, group, or organization that is patriotic, philanthropic, inspirational, and fosters goodwill and sportsmanship, the Patriots’ Award further unifies the Boston Marathon with Patriots’ Day, the holiday on which the race has been held since 1897.
The recipients of the Patriots’ Award have been Robert and Myra Kraft and the New England Patriots (2002); Red Auerbach and the Red Auerbach Youth Foundation (2003); Ron Burton and the Ron Burton Training Village (2004); the Boston Red Sox Foundation (2005); Rick and Dick Hoyt (2006); Joan Benoit Samuelson (2007); Mike Andrews and the Jimmy Fund (2008); longtime Boston bartenders and philanthropists Eddie Doyle and Tommy Leonard (2009); lifetime New England Patriot and three-time Super Bowl Champion Tedy Bruschi (2010); Carol Fulp, President & CEO, The Partnership, Inc. (2011); and longtime Boston Red Sox pitcher and philanthropist Tim Wakefield (2012).