Neal Murphy starts youth running group
A few weeks ago, Neal Murphy posted on the Block Island Bulletin Board inviting kids on the Island to join his new running group. “It’s to help kids have exposure to other sports opportunities, individual sports, and something they can do for a lifetime, fast or slow!” Murphy said.
Practices are held at 3 p.m., starting at the school, every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. During the week the kids will be doing road running, and then finishing the week off with a 9:30 a.m., “fun run,” as Murphy calls it. The group takes a different route, running through different Greenway trails, followed by a free, full breakfast at the Old Town Inn. Murphy described last week’s breakfast that consisted of French toast, eggs, hash browns, sausage, and juice. “It was very rewarding,” Abigail Willi, a member of the group said.
Murphy has been coming to the island every summer since he was born. Just two years ago he bought the Old Town Inn. In
1985, Murphy ran for an All-American cross country team during High school. He also ran the 2000 New York City Marathon called, “Cold Turkey,” along with partaking in a number of triathlons.
Currently, there are four kids running in the group. Carina Berry, grade five, Elizabeth Mello, grade six, Abigail Willi, grade seven, and Finn Heinz, grade eight. “It’s pretty fun. It’s got me into running almost everyday,” Heinz said. The group started off running 1.5 miles and is currently running two miles. According to Murphy, their plan is to run the Block Island Turkey Trot, a 5k run, if it is held this November. After that, their main goal is to make their way up to five miles. Murphy has also offered help for parents
and kids struggling to buy the right gear. “I have spoken to the Mary D. Fund and if any family is struggling to buy true run-
ning shoes for their child, applications will be reviewed,” he posted on the BIBB, on September 23.
So far the club has been successful, starting off with five kids, and currently including four. Murphy has offered to drop off any of the children practicing soccer during the week at Heinz field at 3:30 p.m. “It’s going great, the kids are really into it and they’re way faster than I expected,” he said.