Williamsburg native John Piggott loves to run. He’s been doing it for 23 years, and has won several marathons and placed in hundreds more.
So when he heard about the devastating earthquake in Haiti, he figured he’d use his talent this time around not to win, but to make some money for folks who need it.
“When I saw the devastation from the quake, I just wondered, how can I help them out? I gotta do something, I thought to myself,” Piggott says. “I can run, that’s what I can do.” And his fundraising plan was born.
Piggott will be running the Shamrock Marathon on March 21 in Virginia Beach – he took second place overall a few years back and consistently finishes near the top – but this year he’ll be starting at the back of the pack. His goal is to earn money for each person he passes and give the money to the Red Cross for help with disaster relief efforts in Haiti.
WYDaily, 92.3FM The Tide and 107.9 BACHfm are helping out John with his cause; you can click here to make a pledge for John’s run and the people of Haiti. If you prefer to look on your own, it’s the button with a sneaker on it, just below the navigation bar on WYDaily.com.
Last year, about 2,500 people ran the marathon. Piggott says he aims to pass as many of them as possible this year, and as he runs by each person, he’ll know that’s another penny, or dime, or dollar he’s earned for his cause.
“Even a penny will help,” he says cheerfully. “I’ll try to pass everyone, and that could be a lot of pennies! A dollar [for each person] would be even better.”
A graduate from Lafayette High School in 1983, Piggott now works there as a track coach. He’s got lots of wisdom to impart to the kids he works with, too, as he’s seen his share of races over the past few decades.
The most marathons he’s ever run in a year was 32, which he did a couple of years back. In that year, he ran eight marathons in eight weeks, he says, getting a better time with every race – but then he took a week or so off to rest.
He’s gotten some support already from folks at Lafayette, and also from people at Ford’s Colony where he works. So far, he’s raised a few hundred dollars.
His family has also rallied to support him, he says. His two stepdaughters have been helping him make signs and decorate a donation box. His new wife and 3-week-old son along with his girls will be cheering him on from the sidelines during the race, too.
“I came from nothing,” Piggott says. “I want to give back.” He does this in little ways whenever he can, by donating new shoes he gets for his running to high school runners who need them or by taking time out to encourage new runners. “It just takes one little thing to change somebody’s life.”
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