13-Year-Old Florida boy runs for fallen Joplin officers

JOPLIN, Mo.–At only thirteen years old, Zechariah Cartledge is already making a difference in the world. One mile, at a time.

“I started running a mile whenever a police officer or a firefighter passes away across the United States. I’ve been doing that ever since the start 2019. And over time,  we’ve raised more money and became a nonprofit, we also give monthly $10,000 checks to injured first responders.”

The Winter Springs resident runs for our first responder heroes, who have fallen or were injured in the line of duty, and was invited to Joplin’s Guns and Hoses event. 

Before the event started, he ran one mile in honor of every fallen first responder in the Joplin area.

Cartledge says was inspired to do this at a young age.

“I went to this specific 5k called the “tunnel to towers 5k.” They do 5k’s all across the nation for 9/11 first responders. I was inspired enough by that run to raise money for them. And during the 2018 year when I was about nine years old I raised at the end of 2018, $100,000 thousand dollars for tunnels to towers…knowing that we had all these donations in and knowing that I already raised so much for this one organization, I wanted to branch off and start my own organization.”

This is how “Running 4 Heroes”, was formed. Now, the non-profit honors fallen heroes while Cartledge runs, carrying a flag in their honor.

The thirteen-year-old balances his life as a kid, as a good student, and as a runner for heroes every month.

“So on a weekday, usually I wake up, I do school like a normal kid, and then I have about 2 hours in between once I get home. Usually, I do notes for the families I run for, and then that evening, around six or seven p.m., I go out and do 1 to 3 miles in honor of first responders, if there’s not a need to run then don’t have to run. and then obviously on the weekends, two out of four times on average every single month. And on the weekends, I will fly out and go to an amazing event like this.” 

Once, he turns eighteen, Cartledge will legally become the founder of “Running 4 heroes”, and plans to pass on the responsibility of running to another eager young kid.

If anyone would like to donate, you can go to Running4heroes.org