UPDATE: Richard Brodsky's Journey of Hope has just been updated as of October 2015 and 8 brand new pages have been added and many other pages have been updated.
I am Richard Brodsky and welcome to the World AIDS Marathon website. As you will notice, this website is about much more than just a marathon; it is about changing and saving lives.
Doctors, Nurses and therapists helped examine and treat Kenyan orphans at 4 festive orphan dinner dances on November 27, 28, 29 and 30, 2016 and ran with the Kenyans on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2016.
2017 World AIDS Marathon t-shirt
The marathon came about because people were inspired by my story. I am both HIV-positive since 1997 and a brain cancer survivor since 2002. Prior to that, I was a successful New York architect, marathon runner, and happily married with three daughters. Today, some seventeen years later, thanks to my medication and a positive attitude, my family and I are still doing very well. (For further details, see my biography; for full details, you can read my book.)
I recovered from my brain cancer treatment in time to run the 2003 New York City marathon, when it occurred to me that people with HIV/AIDS around the world could and should enjoy the same quality of life that I do. Thus, the 2004 World AIDS Marathon was born. Mbita, Kenya, an island in Lake Victoria was the selected location for the first World AIDS Marathon. Mbita has a very high AIDS infection rate and the island people welcomed my wife, Jodi, and me, a bit cautiously. Here I was, an HIV-positive man being embraced by my HIV-negative wife. Jodi and I were determined to help eliminate the stigma that is associated with AIDS. Thanks to the media attention from my book, Jodi: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, people from around the world joined me to help stage that ambitious project.
Money was raised for a 50-bed orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya.
However, the full impact of the marathon was never realized until March 28, 2006
when the World Health Organization issued a report stating
that Kenya was only one of two African countries
which had a declining rate for new HIV cases
from December 2003 – December 2005.
For 2005, we had set our sights even higher. Besides having another World AIDS Marathon, the Richard M. Brodsky Foundation sponsored an AIDS / Cancer Conference titled SURVIVING & THRIVING, as well as a 5K fun walk.
The 2005 World AIDS Marathon was held in Gainesville, Florida. You may not be familiar with the city, but you probably have heard of Gatorade®. That familiar drink was discovered in Gainesville, at the University of Florida. The University of Florida is one of the largest research institutions in the country. It is the birthplace of Gatorade, the FIV vaccine (also known as the Feline AIDS Vaccine), and a variety of other discoveries. Wouldn't it be fantastic if it were the birthplace of the cure for HIV? The same researchers who discovered the FIV vaccine are now applying their knowledge to finding an HIV/AIDS vaccine or cure. With your help, it might just happen.
Recognizing that a 2006 World AIDS Marathon was not a sure thing, my wife and I had made a commitment to run one marathon per month for 2006 to raise awareness that 8,500 people do not have to die from AIDS every day. (that number was believed to be correct back in 2006; it is now recognized that the number for 2015 is about 3,014 people). The number of people dying from AIDS has reduced from 2,000,000 to 1,100,000 from 2005 to 2015 and the number of newly infected HIV-positive people has reduced from 2,200,000 to 2,100,000 from 2010 to 2015..Clearly, more emphasis needs to be placed on reducing the number of new HIV-infected people.
The number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment increased from less than 1 million in 2005 to 7.5 million in 2014, to 15.8 million in 2015.
AWARENESS, to the Soccer Moms in America, as well as all parents: How can we continue to hug our children good night and take comfort with our lives while there are 15,100,000 orphans living in sub-Saharan Africa who have lost one or both parents to AIDS?
For my 2006 - 2017 schedule of completed marathons, please visit One Marathon Per Month (with photos). Sadly, I took a bad fall during the August marathon and I broke my collarbone. I’ve come to realize that I’m not indestructible as I also took yet another bad fall during a run in 2005 and required 12 stitches near my eye. Back to the present, I have completed 45 marathons since being diagnosed with brain cancer in 2002. To any marathon organizer who would like to invite Jodi and me to participate in their marathon for 2018, let me say THANK YOU. I figure it will take me 110,000 steps as I am a little timid these days about my running as my balance is off a bit. On the other hand, you learn to deal with what you are dealt in life. With a steady hand, it will take you only one broad stroke of a pen to write a check to help support my foundation's work… I'll do my part, please do your part and donate generously.
Back in February 2012, I wrote, "I was 59 years young and my wife Jodi and I participated in the ING Hartford Marathon and I ran my fastest marathon since brain cancer "my wife Jodi and I, I was 59 years young, participated in the ING Hartford Marathon and I ran my fastest marathon since being diagnosed with brain cancer back in 2002. ING again invited Jodi and me to participate in the January 29, 2012 ING Miami Marathon and the story was covered on the front page of the Miami Herald's Tropical Life Section. I beat my previous time by 12 seconds. Barring any unforeseen accidents, I am confident I can cut a minute +/- from each of the next 25 marathons I run and get back to a sub-4 hour marathon before I turn 65." Fast forward to age 62, and I ran a sub-4 hour marathon by 4 seconds.
I did manage to cut 3 minutes off my next 2 marathons and on October 13, 2012, at age 60, I ran my fastest post cancer marathon by 17 minutes and finished in 04:05:44. My wife Jodi also ran her fastest marathon by 9 minutes and finished in 03:56:06 which qualified her for the first time to run the Boston Marathon. On World AIDS Day, December 1, 2012, Jodi and I both ran our fastest World AIDS Marathon in Kisumu, Kenya since 2006. I did beat a personal record (PR) by 17 minutes and Jodi did a PR by 9 minutes. The Kenyan marathons are much harder than those I have run in America due to rough & uneven terrain, 3,000+ feet altitude above sea level, 80+ degrees Fahrenheit, and running close to traffic as the streets are not closed. On the plus side, there is nothing more exciting than RUNNING WITH THE KENYANS.
On October 11, 2014, I completed the Hartford Marathon in 03:59:56, my fastest since my terminal brain cancer diagnosis back in 2002.
On December 1, 2014, I ran my fastest World AIDS Marathon and finished in 04:32:23.
On January 25, 2015, I ran my fastest Miami Marathon and finished in 04:23:34. A year later on January 24, 2016, I finished Miami in 04:17:06 beating my previous year by 6+ minutes. The following year, January 29, 2017, I finished Miami in 04:08:08 beating my previous year by 9 minutes. The point here is my last three Miami Marathons, I have been running faster each year.
On July 24, 2016, I was determined to run a sub-03:55:00 marathon in Nova Scotia so I could run the 2017 Boston Marathon. I had to cut 04:56 minutes from a post-cancer PR. I ran a 03:53:30 marathon and I qualified by 90 seconds. So for 2017, I would be running Boston with my wife Jodi who has qualified every year since 2011. As it turned out there were too many fast runners and I missed the revised cutoff time by 39 seconds.
On July 23, 2017, after running 56 marathons, I finished the July 23, 2017 Nova Scotia Marathon in a time of 4:00:52 and at age 65, I finally qualified to run the 2018 Boston Marathon by 9+ minutes. At age 65, the cutoff time is 04:10:00.
I believe now more than ever, that people even those living with HIV and cancer, can reverse their aging process by leading a healthy lifestyle and having access to affordable healthcare and medicine.
Richard Brodsky finishing some of the many marathons run to date!
The 2006 through 2015 World AIDS Marathons were held in Kisumu, Kenya.
For 2016 and beyond, we no longer have the support of the Kisumu World AIDS Marathon Group and we had to come up with a plan as we could not raise the $10,000 the Kisumu Group raised. We revised the marathon course so it would be four loops instead of one big loop. This cut down on the number of water stations and course guides. Athletics Kenya (AK) organized the Event. For 2017, AK has mandated that for this to be an AK Event there needs to be $5,000 prize money. T-shirts will cost $2,500 and volunteers, medals, advertising, food and water, and logistics will cost an additional $2,500. Even though we never had a major sponsor, the Foundation’s board members and I realized that we have no choice; we had to have these World AIDS Marathons. Too much was at stake not to have these marathons. Dollars versus saving lives; saving lives would prevail. The Foundation has committed to sponsor the marathon and orphan dinner dances and provide medical care, but if we do not raise the money to cover expenses, we will not be able to return to Kenya. For more information about the marathon, our sponsors and friends, and related events please visit the web links on this page. The support for the 2016 World AIDS Marathon and its related Events were attended by over 2,174 people and my marathon-running wife.
• 300 people including 13 wheelchair athletes registered for the Full/Half Marathon & relay races.
• 838 orphans and caretakers were fed at four orphan dinner dances on November 27, 28, 29, and 30, 2016.
• 150 children participated in the Children’s Walk
• 604 people tested for the AIDS virus
• 75+ volunteers served water, provided medical assistance, organized and served food, directed traffic, registered participants and assisted with timing.
• 209 orphans were examined and treated by Dr. Richard Sartori, a pediatrician from Garden City Pediatrics; Paulina Ballaban, pediatric nurse practitioner from Long Island; Dr. Bonyo and a team of doctors and nurses from Ohio, and an additional team of doctors and nurses from Kisumu.
• 10 doctors and nurses examined and treated the 209 orphans.
Dr. Richard Sartori and Mercy Abala examining an orphan at Kisumu Museum, November 30, 2015.
Orphan dinner dance in Amilo Village, November 29, 2015
Start of the 2015 World AIDS Marathon, Richard and Jodi Brodsky at center
For 2017 the Richard M. Brodsky Foundation is seeking runners and sponsors for a World AIDS Marathon. Other events will include a half marathon and possibly a 5K children's walk plus an afternoon of entertainment at Jomo Kenyatta Sports Stadium after the marathon. The four evenings before, there will be dinners held for 1,000+/- orphans. The first 100 foreign runners who sign up via the active.com web site link are invited to dine and be entertained by the orphans. Round trip Transportation will be provided from the Imperial Hotel Express in Kisumu. To sign up for the marathon or to make a donation, click on the links on the left side of the page.
From experience, I can say that without major sponsors, marathons can raise a great deal of AIDS Awareness. However, they will not raise money. If you or your company, i.e., a life insurance company, a TV network, a pharmaceutical company, or a running gear company would realize the benefits you or your company could reap, both from a financial and humanitarian standpoint, by sponsoring a 2017 World AIDS Marathon, please contact me. Rock stars, celebrities and ballplayers making salaries they never dreamed they would make… well, here is a chance for you to give something back. My dream, my dream is to participate in a World AIDS Marathon alongside people from all nations who have been afflicted with HIV or cancer.
Please join them, and me, with your support for the 2017 World AIDS Marathon.
Agencies promoting tourism and commerce in Africa, companies that are interested in promoting the sport of running, and to anyone who wants to make the world a better place, please contribute generously.