36th Running of California’s premiere 26.2-mile road race set for Sunday, November 7, 2021; Foundation’s vision to be the Number One Marathon that Gives Back; Event weekend schedule, maps and more at LAMarathon.com
Los Angeles – October 23, 2021 – Brian McCourt recalls growing up alongside his six brothers with Multiple Sclerosis a part of their life. Their father, Robert, had been diagnosed before any of his sons were born, and long outlived any expectations when he was diagnosed at the young age of 25.
“My father was a man who wasn’t going to let Multiple Sclerosis define him,” said Brian. “He lived a good life. He started a business in construction safety. He ran it from his wheelchair and drove himself to work with hand controls. Where there was a will there was a way. And that’s what we wanted when we started the Foundation — to bring the hope that he embodied.”
When Robert McCourt died in 1991 at age 67, Brian and his brothers knew they wanted to do something to give back. The McCourt Foundation was founded in 1992 with a small road race in Cape Cod, MA to raise money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. The McCourt brothers quickly realized how impactful this small event was for awareness and fundraising potential.
Nearly three decades later, the Foundation has donated more than $6.5 million that has gone into research for neurological diseases, particularly MS, Parkinson’s, ALS and Alzheimer’s. This expanded charter to include Alzheimer’s disease was in honor of McCourt’s mother, Mary who was diagnosed in 1998.
The McCourt Foundation expanded in 2019 and now reaches from coast to coast. And come November 7th, will feature its premier west coast event, the 2021 Los Angeles Marathon presented by ASICS. More than 13,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes will be taking a 26.2-mile tour of L.A., from Dodger Stadium to the new ‘Avenue of the Stars’ finish line in Century City.
The McCourt Foundation’s mission striving to cure neurological diseases while empowering communities to build a healthier world. That mission encompasses three pillars: investing in Neurology research, providing free education forums, and using our events as a platform to partner with other health-focused nonprofits to raise more funds and awareness for other important causes.
“TMF was born from the desire to cure Neurological diseases. Our expanded mission includes other key components that doesn’t change our vision,” said McCourt. “It highlights the motivation behind building a healthier world for those impacted by health challenges much like we were.”
Regarding research, The McCourt Foundation (TMF) provides direct financial support for innovative neurology research led by world-renowned doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham & Women’s Hospital.
“When you give to physicians, dollars can go further and faster because they go into trials that have not yet been fully funded and they know how to best utilize the best return in research,” said McCourt.
The foundation offers free educational forums for patients and caregivers affected by neurological diseases. In 2020, with the event going virtual, people from three countries and more than 30 states participated in the forums.
The foundation’s Non-profit Partnership Program enables health-focused charities and individuals to use TMF events for their own fundraising. As an example, Students Run LA supports school-based wellness programming and equally if not more importantly, empowers Los Angeles area students to live more active and healthy lifestyles.
Carol Curran, an individual who fundraised for TMF, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis four years ago. Her right side was suddenly weaker than the left and she started dragging her foot.
“I didn’t know what was wrong with me,” said Curran.
In September, Curran and her brother, Michael Moschella, who also has MS, walked the Foundation’s Boston Waterfront 5K and fundraised nearly $5,000 to support the cause.
“(The McCourt Foundation’s) mission is aligned with mine,” said Curran. “I want to empower people to build a healthier lifestyle.”
TMF operates multiple participatory events across the country. In Greater Boston, they put on the Boston Waterfront 5K and the Tour de South Shore, a 25- and 50-mile bike event, which is coupled with a 5K. In the Los Angeles area, the Foundation produces the LA Big 5K, the Santa Monica 5K and 10K, the Rose Bowl Half Marathon and 5K, plus the Los Angeles Marathon and Charity Challenge Half Marathon.
As for the November 7th Los Angeles Marathon, McCourt couldn’t hide his excitement.
“We have a fantastic city that offers so much,” he said. “The runners definitely can expect a great show. We’ll never lose the passion of putting on the finest marathon we possibly can for all the committed runners.”
But he wants the event to be known for more than runners and walkers crossing off a marathon finish on a bucket list. He wants the Los Angeles Marathon to represent a means of giving back.
“We have our own identity, and our long game is impact,” he said. “To TMF, creating an impact means donating to neurology research to find cures for many diseases, using our events as a platform for others to raise money for important health causes and lastly, we want anyone who has their own story to tell, cause to get behind – however they define that for themselves – to join us. We will be the number one marathon gives back and doing our part in helping build a healthier world.”