When Bob and Wendy Pitts began running at the end of this summer, they quickly realized that their new exercise regime contained larger possibilities.
The Pitts' training mirrored preparation for a marathon, and so they looked at a calendar and picked Miami, which is hosting a 26.2-mile run at the end of January.
Some friends gave them a hard time – Bob, a state trooper, and Wendy, a nurse, had never really run before, let alone tackled a marathon – but they re-focused that attention to a local cause.
"Why don't you donate some money while you're laughing," Bob Pitts said he told them.
The Braintree couple has since raised $500 for Braintree's Little League Challenger Division, a noncompetitive program that enables boys and girls ages 5-18 with physical and cognitive challenges to enjoy the game of baseball.
"We live over there," Pitts said of Braintree American. "My kids grew up in the program."
Pitts' two sons, now a senior and freshmen at Braintree High School, played little league, and his eldest son is now an umpire. Their father has coached American teams in the past and umpired as well.
A couple years ago, the Pitts hosted a three-on-three basketball tournament at their house that raised about $1,000. Pitts said he and his wife hope to raise a similar amount by the time they fly to Miami for the Jan. 27 race.
"We always try to give back to the program," Pitts said.
Next year, Challenger plans to add two more teams, bringing the total to 12, Director Kathy Jordan said in an email. Teamster Local 25 has also helped support the division, providing a grant that last season covered registration costs for all families.
To donate, write a check out to Braintree American Little League and mail to:
Robert and Wendy Pitts
80 Solar Ave.
Braintree, MA 02184