Alums near and far rally to support race in memory of photojournalist James Foley

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Jeanne Shaheen, Maggie Hassan, John Foley '71 and Diane Foley '71
John Foley ’71, looks on with N.H. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Governor Maggie Hassan as wife Diane Foley ’71 delivers remarks before the beginning of the race in their son’s honor

When Martha Foley Jackson ‘76 told Craig Heisner ’88 she had a special project she needed his help on, he didn’t hesitate for a second. Heisner and Foley Jackson had known each other for years and worked closely together as members of the UNH Alumni Association board of directors, but as it turned out, it was another of Heisner’s roles that his fellow Wildcat wanted to tap into.

A former president of the Alumni Association board, Foley Jackson is also the aunt of the late James Foley, the New Hampshire-native photojournalist who was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012 and became the first American to be killed by ISIS, in August 2014.  Shortly after Foley’s tragic death, his parents John and Diane Foley ’70 established a foundation in their son’s honor, which was mounting its first major fundraising event: a 5K road race on October 17, the weekend of what would have been Foley’s 42nd birthday. As CEO of the Colorado-based Newton Running company, Heisner struck Foley Jackson as a natural to lend a hand.

“Martha’s the kind of person you want to say yes to no matter what the question is,” Heisner says,“but particularly when it comes to something as important as this.”

One of Heisner’s first moves was to recruit Mark Lane ’90, a UNH fraternity brother and president of Coed Sportswear, which creates clothing for brands including Reebok. New Balance and Bauer Hockey.  Lane was as eager as Heisner to help out, and set about sourcing the bright yellow technical running shirts — screenprinted with a well-known image of Foley and the hashtag #IRunforJim — that were going to be distributed to race participants. Coed Sportswear printed and delivered some 2,000 shirts that went to runners at the Rochester, N.H., event as well as to hundreds of runners participating virtually from locations around the globe. “The story about Jim just hit so close to home,” Lane says.“We wanted to do what we could to help.”

The Foley family was deeply moved by the tremendous support it received for the inaugural Foley Foundation 5K — from friends of Jim’s around the globe who participated in virtual runs, and from the UNH community.

“Jim was as good and humble a guy as you all have heard, and we miss him every day,” says Foley Jackson. “The fact that our UNH family supports our efforts to remember Jim and to honor his legacy means the world to us. The first James Foley 5k was a tremendous success, thanks to the support of Craig and Mark and hundreds of people across our country and around the globe. We’re already looking forward to next year’s race.”

Foley Foundation 5K runners in Hong Kong
Runners in Hong Kong were among numerous groups participating in the Foley Foundation 5K from afar


Originally published in UNH MagazineFall 2015 Issue