VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Monday morning marks a moment that Virginia Beach resident Chris Free has been running towards for almost three years.
"It's kind of like the bucket list for runners across the world. It's one of those things that everyone's like, 'What's your favorite marathon?' and hands down it's the Boston Marathon,'" Chris told 13News Now when we caught up with him on the boardwalk before he left for Boston.
Remarkably, Chris clocked his personal best mile time at this year's Shamrock Marathon, at 5:04.
"I'd like to get those five seconds back and get under five minutes, but that's the best so far," he said through a big smile.
He will be starting the race in wave 1, alongside other premier runners like U.S. Olympians Jalen Rupp and Shalane Flanagan.
After he found out he had qualified for one of the world's most famous races, Chris began fundraising for Team World Vision, a humanitarian organization that can take a $50 donation and use it to provide one person in Africa with clean water.
"As I understand it, the idea is they provide a sustainable solution for them to have clean water forever," Chris said, clearly proud of his mission. "We have been given an incredible gift just by being born in America... we didn't do anything to deserve where we are in the world, but we have the opportunity to give back to people who weren't as lucky as we are."
Free is active on social media, broadcasting several live videos from his Facebook page every day. He uses the videos to give updates on his training progress and loves to thank his 90-plus donors.
"We set out to raise $50,000. That would mean we could provide clean water to 1,000 people."
He hopes to continue fundraising even after the race to hit his goal. As for his target on race day? He hopes to finish in under three hours, something he knows will be difficult, especially with weather forecasts calling for a miserable "car wash effect."
"I'm looking to do somewhere between 6:45 and 6:50 milings."
Once the race starts, you can track Chris (bib # 3103) in real time on Monday or check his pace on the Boston Athletic Association website.
If you want to donate to Team World Vision, click here for Chris' fundraising page.
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