Rebecca FernandezJun 23, 2018, 2:41 pmJun 23, 2018, 2:42 pm

50-Mile run held to honor late Navy Seal from Smithtown

Freddie Rodriguez runs in honor of his hero Michael Murphy

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RONKONKOMA – Freddie Rodriguez from Carle Place is not a veteran, however, six years ago, he decided he will do everything he can to show appreciation to those who protect the United States. Rodriguez started a 50-mile run that began in New York City on Friday night, and end Saturday morning in Ronkonkoma.

Rodriguez also participated in another four-mile race on Saturday, which is held every year in honor of his hero, Navy Seal Lt. Michael Murphy. Michael Murphy died protecting the country on June 28, 2005, in Afghanistan as part of Operation Red Wings. Even during his final moments, he put others above himself, while his team was getting ambushed, he sacrificed himself to make a phone call for reinforcement. Murphy’s story was part of the movie "Lone Survivor."

Close to 5,000 people, including Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and several veterans groups, ran in honor of Michael Murphy and other veterans.

"Our motto is never forgot those who have given their lives and those who sacrifice for our freedoms every day. People are dedicated to this race and support it because of what it represents. It's us giving back and just showing how much we appreciate those who have given to us," Race Director Dr. Louis Scotty said.

"During those dark moments, I remember why I’m doing it and why I gotta keep going. Pain sets in. My feet and legs are hurting. The pain pales in comparison to what they went through in training and during deployment," Fernandez said.

Michael Murphy’s father Daniel J. Murphy said his son would be so proud of what this race stands for.

"He had immeasurable courage. Michael was a born leader from when he was very little, I saw it with him growing up. It was never about Michael. It was always about the team," Daniel J. Murphy said.

Veteran Addison Lemay said it’s important to respect veterans.

"It's a very patriotic feeling to be out here. The sacrifice that these guys put up, and it is a sacrifice to run 50 miles in one night and then to come out here and do this four-mile race, it's fantastic. Solute your vets, folks," Lemay said.

All the proceeds from the run go to the Michael Murphy Scholarship Foundation and the Lone Survivor Foundation which benefits veterans.

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