Running a marathon is hard work. It's also lonely work. But Pedro Morales, 18, a Hailey resident and senior at Wood River High School, had a crowd on his mind when he took to the road: His mother and the Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence.
"I came to U.S. three and a half years ago," he said. "I've spent all my high school here participating in cross country and track since my freshman year. The Advocates, they helped us. My mom and my little brother. I'm so thankful for them."
For his senior project, required to graduate from the high school, Morales decided to raise money to donate to the Advocates.
"It seemed a good thing to do for the community," he said. "That was my goal two years ago. To run a marathon, 26.2 miles, from the Carey hill to the high school."
Morales trained consistently through the year, outside most of the time, at the school, and in Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue. He competed in cross-country and track, along with his mentor, Monte Brothwell.
"He gives me my training plan and he is my track coach," Morales said. "I sold my miles to businesses and people from the school and asked for $20 for each mile. If they wanted to pledge more it would be wonderful. Many people bought one or two or six miles."
Ultimately he earned $1,000 for the Advocates, a non-profit organization in Hailey that works to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault through education, shelter and supportive services.
On the day of the marathon, Brothwell accompanied him for a full 17 miles while some friends from the cross-country team did one or two miles.
"My cousin José Hererra ran nine miles, but no one went the whole way, just me," he said. "I think it was three hours and 41 minutes."
Morales, who is planning on attending Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., hopes to continue running there.
"I'm not sure what I'm going to study, though," he said.
But that is getting ahead of himself. For now he is basking on completing something he dreamed off--helping those who once helped him and honoring his mother.
"It's really amazing," he said. "I want to thank everyone who helped me and supported my mom, and me. She's a great person and always supports me in whatever I do."