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 3 festive orphan dinner dances on November 28, 29 and 30, 2014 and ran with the Kenyans on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2014.
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 dies from AIDS every day. (that number was believed to be correct back in 2006; it is now recognized that the number for 2012 is about 4,380 people). The number of people dying from AIDS has reduced from 1,600,000 to 1,500,000 from 2012 to 2014 and the number of newly infected HIV-positive people has reduced from 2,300,000 to 2,000,000 from 2012 to 2014. It is absolutely essential for HIV-positive people to have access to the AIDS medicine and to lead a healthy lifestyle, and in so doing we can substantially reduce the number of deaths from AIDS until a cure or vaccine is discovered.
The number of people in Africa receiving antiretroviral treatment increased from less than 1 million in 2005 to 8.4 million in 2014, with 1.3 million added over the previous year. My concern is the effects of poverty, not enough nutritious food and sanitary drinking water, malaria and tuberculosis need to be addressed for the AIDS medicine to be fully effective.
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? (that number was believed to be correct back in 2006; that number has increased to 15,100,000)
For my 2006 - 2014 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 31 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 2014, 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.
For the 2008 - 2012 and 2014 World AIDS Marathons, President Obama's Kenyan Grandmother has been involved with the World AIDS Marathon by either dropping the flag to signify the start of the World AIDS Marathon, presenting certificates of completion or awarding the prize money to the fastest marathon runners.
On October 15, 2011, 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.
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.
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 the marathon with a PR!
The 2006 through 2014 World AIDS Marathons were held in Kisumu, Kenya. Even though we did not have a major sponsor, the foundation’s board members and I realized that we had no choice; we had to have these World AIDS Marathon. Too much was at stake not to have these marathons. Dollars versus saving lives; saving lives would prevail. The Foundation managed to sponsor these World AIDS Marathons with the help of the Kisumu World AIDS Marathon Group, as well as tremendous support from the local community. 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 2014 World AIDS Marathon and its related Events were attended by over 2,101 people and my marathon-running wife. The 2,101 figure is based on the same number of people who were tested for AIDS and males who were circumcised in 2011 because we do not have an accurate count at this time.
• 321 people including 14 wheelchair athletes registered for the Full/Half Marathon & relay races
• 850+ orphans and caretakers were fed at three orphan dinner dances on November 28, 29, and 30, 2014.
• 300 children participated in the Children’s Walk
• 314 (number to be verified) people tested for the AIDS virus
• 300+ volunteers served water, provided medical assistance, organized and served food, directed traffic, registered participants and assisted with timing.
• 46 (number to be verified) men were circumcised which reduces the spread of HIV.
• 255 orphans were examined by Dr. Richard Sartori, a pediatrician from Garden City Pediatrics, Dr. Alex Hyppolite of Manhattan, Dr. Julian Howard of Australia, Dr. Joshua Muga of Nyanza Province, and Dr. Benson Bonyo, a Kenyan-American doctor and his medical team from Akron, Ohio.
• 15+ doctors and nurses examined and treated the 300 orphans.
Picture above: Dr. Richard Sartori also examined orphans at the first two orphan dinner dances but missed the 3rd (and running in the Marathon itself) when he returned early to America on hearing the tragic news of his brother's death.
Pictured below: Dr. Julian Harris of Australia examined and treated orphans at all 3 orphan dinner dances.
Start of the 2014 World AIDS Marathon, Richard and Jodi Brodsky at center
For 2015 the Richard M. Brodsky Foundation is seeking runners and sponsors for a World AIDS Marathon. Other events will include a half marathon and a 5K children's walk plus an afternoon of entertainment at Jomo Kenyatta Sports Stadium after the marathon. The two or three evenings before, there will be dinners held for 1,000+/-. 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 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 2015 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 2015 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.