After a 15-year hiatus, Charbo’s Run— a Dorchester-based road race event that memorializes fallen Massachusetts State Trooper Mark S. Charbonnier — will return next next year to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his death in the line of duty. The five-mile race will take place on Sun., March 24, allowing citizens to honor a man respected and very much missed by the family and friends and colleagues he left behind.
A native of St. Peter’s parish, Charbonnier was a six-year veteran of the State Police when he was fatally gunned down during a traffic stop on Route 3 in Kingston, Mass. He was 31.
The first annual Charbo’s Run took place on March 12, 1995, just a year after Mark’s murder. Mark’s brother, Boston Police Detective Steve Charbonnier, along with friends and other family members, organized the first race, which started and ended at Florian Hall and drew over 2,000 attendees.
The success of Charbo’s Run grew year by year, reaching a peak of over 8,000 runners in 2002. Although the strong participation delighted his brother and those who held Mark close, the planning grew to be too much, and they ended the race’s run on the 10th anniversary of Mark’s death.
“It just took too much out of us in planning it and doing it the way we wanted to, so we decided to end it after 10 years,” Det. Charbonnier said. Instead, they turned their efforts squarely on an annual golf tournament that has continued to generate funds for a memorial scholarship in Mark’s name.
Steve Charbonnier always kept hope that they would bring the race back sometime in the future so that young people could experience the memorial run. This year, the timing seemed right.
“You know, a lot of my friends who helped run this race didn’t have any children at the time of the last race, so the kids never experienced it. So it was something that we always wanted to let them experience it as well,” he said. “We met with the family and met with the committee and the rest of my friends that helped plan it, and we’re starting to put it together. So that’s where we stand right now.”
Already, many people have approached him and expressed excitement about the 25th anniversary renewal. “What Mark did for the state of Massachusetts … he gave up his life to defend us,” his brother said. “And to see people never forget, especially now, when I’m putting cards about Charbo’s run coming back, and people are thrilled. They are sending emails and phone calls saying that they’re glad it’s back. And you know, for us, after 25 years and people still remember? It’s great. It’s great that they’re still with us 25 years later.”
The Charbo’s Run Race course begins on Hallet Street by Florian Hall and follows a course through Milton and Quincy and back to Dorchester to Florian Hall for post-race festivities.