Running In Memory of Alvin

Irish Ultra-Marathoner to finish cross-continent run raising funds for Triumph Foundation in memory of Alvin Matthews

Some friendships were meant for the long run. For Richard Donovan, his friendship with Alvin Matthews means a 3,000+ mile trek across America in his memory.

Richard (55) of Galway, Ireland met Alvin Matthews of Ventura, California in 2011 when Alvin ran the Antarctic Ice Marathon that Richard organized, and the two became fast friends, literally. Two years later, Alvin ran the North Pole Marathon that Richard also organized, thus completing 26-mile runs on the opposite ends of the earth.

If that sounds extreme to you. Get used to the idea. Alvin had run marathons on 6 continents and the North Pole. He was intent on completing his 7th and final continent (South America) when he had an accident while working in Lebanon in 2014. A three-story fall resulted in a catastrophic spinal cord injury at the C5 to C7 levels.

Richard heard about Alvin’s injury and was devastated for him. He had such respect and empathy for his friend that he wanted to do what he could to help. First, he ran across the USA from San Francisco to New York in 2015 raising money for Alvin’s medical bills. The athletic community rallied around them both raising tens of thousands of dollars in just a few weeks. Then, Richard set about arranging for Alvin to complete his 7th continent on a handcycle. 

Donate to support Richard Donovan’s Cross-Continent Run in memory of para-athlete Alvin Matthews. 

However, In 2021 Alvin suddenly passed away before he could make his goal.

In their last conversation, Alvin was in high spirits, excited to see Richard getting back to running after several years of injury. Richard shared with Alvin his desire to do another cross-continent run on his behalf, this time from Boston to California. 

“I discussed my plan to run across the USA again in 2022 and to use it as a major fundraiser to assist with his ongoing medical expenses,” said Richard. “He was upbeat, happy, looking forward to new horizons.”  

So in honor of their strong friendship, Richard’s transcontinental run is now dedicated to Alvin’s memory.  “I’m carrying some of his ashes in a pendant every step of the way,” said Richard, “which I’ll return to his mother and family when I reach California.”


Your donation of $100 or more helps newly-injured patients triumph over their obstacles.  

Alvin was a big fan of Triumph Foundation, a Southern California charity, and its role in helping people with spinal cord injuries. So Richard is assisting the Triumph Foundation with organising a handcycle workshop in Ventura this year in Alvin’s name. He would also like to direct all funds raised publicly through his transcontinental run to support Triumph Foundation’s programs to help people living with paralysis. 

Every $100 raised allows a Triumph Ambassador to deliver a Care Pack filled with resources and referrals to a newly-injured patient. If $20,000, was raised, Triumph Foundation could help 200 people in Alvin's name throughout 2022, which is the average number of newly-injured patients assisted each year. 

Any donation, small or large, is gratefully appreciated.