Jacksonville attorney runs 6 marathons in 6 days for good cause

Michael Freed runs to raise money for legal aid

By Zachery Lashway - Reporter/anchor, Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One Jacksonville attorney ran his sixth marathon in six days to raise money to provide legal service to Northeast Florida pediatric patients and their families.

This week, more than 100 runners raised funds for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership through six marathons stretching from Tallahassee to Jacksonville.

While the runners made up relay teams that each ran one of the six marathons, attorney Mike Freed, with Gunster Law Firm, ran all six as part.

"We started at the Supreme Court in Tallahassee and basically run along U.S. 90, which runs parallel to I-10 -- all the way back. It becomes Beaver Street in downtown Jacksonville," Freed explained.

News4Jax caught up with Freed, founder of the event called Freed to Run, before he started running his final marathon Friday.

"We have a really vibrant legal aid organization, but it turns away many more people than it is able to help," Freed said. "I wanted to find something I could do in my own little way and everyone would be for helping underprivileged people, particularly pediatric patients that have legal needs that accompany their medical needs."

While Freed identified a local need in the Jacksonville area, he said it's a national issue.

"There is a right to a lawyer and criminal proceedings, everyone knows that, but not in civil proceedings," Freed said.

Though Freed was limping on his sixth and final day of the event, he said it's metaphoric for the experience of people struggling.

"Every day, they have a different obstacle thrown at them, rent thrown them, and health issues," Freed said. "For me, today my knees are hurting, yesterday my legs. But to me, that is nothing to what they have to face every day."

Friday’s marathon kicked off at 10 a.m. at the Baker County Courthouse in Macclenny and finished at the Duval County Courthouse.

The event also got a boost from Baptist Health, which put up more than $1.2 million for the cause.

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