January 16, 2013 ( – This year’s March for Life will be the first in the event’s 39 year history that won’t be presided over by Nellie Gray, the much-beloved founder who passed away in August. But just because Nellie won’t be there in person, doesn’t mean that she will be forgotten.

Three pro-life groups – the National LIFE Runners, Vitae Foundation and the March for Life – have announced that they are co-sponsoring a 5K and 1K race honoring Gray to take place the day after the march.

The race will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013.  More than 140 runners from 28 states (and DC), ages 6 to 72, are registered to be a part of the inaugural race that is set against the backdrop of the historic Potomac River in West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C.  


According to the organizers there is no cost for the race but a March for Life donation is welcome.

In an Aug. 17, 2012, tribute to March for Life foundress Nellie Gray, Dr. Pat Castle, LIFE Runners president and founder, had shared how he came to know Nellie and what led to her asking him, two months prior to her death, to consider a March for Life race.

“I last visited with Nellie in June [2012],” he said. “We talked about doing a 5K walk/run for life the morning of the March for Life this coming January; she had already requested the Washington Monument area for us for 7-9 a.m.

“This was the last of many holy visits with her … I miss her encouraging voice. Her inspiration and prayers will help us all continue to and speak up. She lived as LIFE Runners seek to, to stand for life ‘in Christ’.”

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This year’s race is being headed up by Jeff Pauls and Jeff Grabosky. Graboskey ran across America from January to May, 2011 to encourage prayer and the pro-life cause.  His experience is chronicled in his book: Running with God across America. 

Pauls is a National LIFE Runners vice president who ran in the St. Louis Rock and Roll Marathon with a few hundred of his teammates on October 21, 2012.  He crossed the finish line with a time of 3:09:31 and achieved his goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. 

National LIFE Runners is a nation-wide organization dedicated to raising funds and increasing prayer and awareness for life issues. The group has nearly 500 members, ages 5 through 73, in 36 states across the United States and in Canada, Turkey Singapore and Brazil. Throughout the year, chapters participate in various running/walking events and convene as a national group once a year to run in a race. 

To get more information about the 5K or to signup, click here.