Thirteen years ago, Richard Nares took his son, Emilio, to Boston for cancer treatments. While sitting in the hospital room, the two saw people running past the window. They were taking part in a fundraiser for the hospital, a nurse told them.
Nares told Emilio they would come back to Boston every year for the Boston Marathon and say hello to the nurses and doctors at the hospital. He also promised Emilio he would run the city’s famous race.
But Emilio died before that could happen.
That ended up setting Richard on a path that led him through Cambria on Tuesday, May 14.
Two years after his son died, Nares and his wife Diane founded the Emilio Nares Foundation (ENF) to provide services for families with children who are battling cancer.
While taking their son to treatments, the Nares noticed the biggest problem for low-income families was transportation. Some of the families the Nares encountered didn’t own cars, and public transportation is not safe for a child with cancer.
“No child should miss their appointment because they don’t have access to transportation,” Nares said. “With cancer, you can’t miss an appointment, it affects the outcome.”
In August 2005, ENF began Ride with Emilio to assist families with transportation. The service picks up parents and children and drives them to the hospital and back home for free. Nares said ENF covers the entire San Diego Country and gives about 2,000 rides a year. The cost adds up to about $90,000 per year, he said.
This spring, he started on “Richard Runs California” to raise awareness for ENF, as well as funds for the Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. He is running 700 miles from San Francisco to San Diego in 30 days.
Nares started his run on May 4 and intends to finish at the hospital on June 1. The goal is to raise awareness and around $125,000 for the hospital. As of Monday, May 13, Nares said he raised between $45,000 to $47,000.
Nares runs approximately 30 miles a day, three days at a time. Every fourth day, he rests. He runs 15 miles in the morning, usually starting around 8 a.m., then another 15 after 2 p.m.
While running, Nares consumes a mixture of high-calorie fluids — he has to, considering he burns about 7,000 calories a day. He doesn’t eat until he finishes a set. Then, he eats “ravishingly,” he said.
It took Nares nearly 10 years to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Since then, he has qualified three times and run once. He was going to run this year as well, but two months before the race, he decided he didn’t want to run the risk of getting hurt and have to cancel Richard Runs California.
While running, Nares said it’s all about reflection. He thinks of his son and the other children with cancer. He thinks of what they are going through with chemotherapy and radiation treatments and what they’ve been enduring for years. This inspiration keeps Nares going as he climbs the hills and powers through the miles.
To make a donation, go online to www.ENFHope.org; mail a check to the Emilio Nares Foundation, P.O. Box 86165, San Diego CA 92138; or call (877) 507-7788.