Marines raising money for charities

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Tom Knoll, front, and his son Warren have run 1,200 miles so far on their run Freedom Run Across America. Tom Knoll, known as the orginal Ironman, served 33 years in the Marine Corps.

A father-son team are in Clovis this week as part of a 112-day run across the U.S. to raise money for charity.

Who: Tom Knoll is a 75-year-old former Marine and one of 15 who helped start the Ironman Triathlon competition in Hawaii in 1978. This is his second cross-country run. In 1983, he raised money for the sunshine Foundation through a 46-day cross-country run.

Warren Knoll, 44, is triathlete and businessman from Milwaukee and co-founder of the U.S. Multi-Sport Directory, a digest size publication, released every January. The Freedom Run is his “first and last” cross country run, he said, because it is only one of many goals he has.

What: Their cross country Freedom Run began March 1 in San Diego at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. They expect to reach the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington, D.C., on July 4.

Why: To raise money for the Wounded Warrior Foundation, which assists wounded veterans and their families, the Sunshine Foundation, which grants wishes to seriously ill and abused children, and the Challenged Athlete Foundation, which assists disabled athletes.

“My dad’s a 33 year Marine and I was a military brat. I believe that our military provides our freedoms so that’s a huge part of it,” Warren Knoll said.

On Clovis: “I really like the town, I like the spirit and I like the people,” Warren Knoll said.

The goal: Tom Knoll has raised more than $750,000 in his lifetime for charity, with a goal of $1 million. The Freedom Run has raised about $25,000 so far.

Meet the Knolls: 5 p.m. Friday at the American Legion.

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— Compiled by Sharna Johnson, CNJ staff writer