National Press Club virtual run for Austin Tice draws 229 runners to raise awareness

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Runners from 25 states and four countries laced up their running shoes this past weekend to run a 5K for Austin Tice, the award-winning journalist and Marine veteran who has been unjustly held in Syria since 2012.

“This was our first virtual run, and it exceeded our expectations,” said Lisa Nicole Matthews, president of the National Press Club. “People are hungry to want to do something to help Austin and channeling that toward running or walking is a great idea. We were really pleased with the response and grateful for the support of volunteers and staff who put together the event. The purpose was to have a strong response on social media to raise awareness of Austin’s case and that was accomplished.”

In all, 229 runners ran or walked 5K or more. They posted photos or their race results online and shared each other’s photos on social media with the hashtag #RunForAustin.

Among the participants were Austin’s family in Houston where his mom, dad, brothers, sisters and extended family all joined in. Austin’s sister Naomi also led a large group of runners from Johns Hopkins where she is a graduate student. Club staff and members also ran including Member Derek Wallbank of Bloomberg and his family who ran in Singapore. Others ran in the UK, Nairobi and Norway. There were participants from the journalism community but also from the Marine community and Georgetown University where he is currently enrolled in the Law School.

Since August, The Washington Post — which also had a team for the race — has been running full page ads calling for Austin’s release. Austin worked for the Post as a freelance journalist and also worked for McClatchy and CBS News.

The National Press Club has a petition for Austin on Change.org that has been signed by 145,000 people calling on the Biden Administration to prioritize his release. Among those who participated in the Run For Austin were signers of the petition.

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