Meet Housing Hero A.J. Burckhardt

Sometimes, we’ll try just about anything to help us reach our goals. In the case of A.J. Burckhardt of North Andover – a huge Boston sports fan currently training to run his first Boston Marathon – that meant reaching out directly to his favorite Red Sox player – centerfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. – via twitter to ask for his support.

When A.J. takes to streets of Hopkinton on April 16 in the running of the 122nd Boston Marathon, he will do so as part of Team Metro Housing – a group of six passionate runners who compete as part of the John Hancock Non-Profit Program. Team Metro Housing has had runners compete and raise funds through the Boston Marathon since 2006, having raised a combined $370,000 to prevent families and individuals throughout Greater Boston from becoming homeless and help households to transition from homelessness to stability.

So, while A.J. patiently awaits a twitter response from JBJ, (there is still time to help, @JackieBradleyJr.) he continues to train hard for his marathon debut.

Where does A.J. get his inspiration to tackle 26.2 miles? “My best friend Josh Kriesberg had run the marathon 4 years ago and has inspired me to run it myself. He has been coaching me and sharing all of his knowledge of the race. Ultimately, running the marathon is about challenging myself beyond anything I have ever done in the past.”

Ironically, it was after last year’s Red Sox game on Patriots Day that A.J. decided that he would be running this year’s race. “I attended the Red sox game on last year’s Patriots day and I was able to watch a majority of the runners finish. The atmosphere was so incredible and as I watched them finish I told myself that’s where I’m going to be 365 days from now.”

To support A.J. and help him reach his fundraising goals, visit

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