Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge marathoner to run for charity

Andrew Gounardes raising funds for St. Basil Academy

September 16, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Marathoner Andrew Gounardes says he has a long association with Saint Basil Academy, a home for orphaned children in Garrison, New York. He plans to run in the New York City marathon to raise money for the facility. Photo courtesy of Gounardes
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Andrew Gounardes is running in the New York City Marathon for the first time on Nov. 6, but making his debut in the world famous race isn’t the only reason he is excited.

Gounardes, a Bay Ridge resident who serves as chief counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, plans to use his participation in the marathon to raise money and bring awareness to a cause close to his heart.

He will be running to raise money for Saint Basil Academy, a residential child care facility located in Garrison, N.Y. The academy is a home for children who are orphaned, come from broken homes or have parents who cannot look after them. The home is primarily, but not exclusively, for children of the Orthodox Christian faith, according to Gounardes, who is a member of a Greek-Orthodox church.

“The mission of the academy is simple: to provide shelter, protection, love and education to these children so they grow up to be well-rounded and productive members of society,” Gounardes wrote in a Facebook post.

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A page has been established on the website to accept donations to help Gounardes reach his fundraising goal of $2,500.

“The academy holds a very special place in my heart. As a young Cub Scout, and later [a] Boy Scout, I spent many nights camping on the academy grounds, exploring the campus and making friends with the children who lived there. For my Eagle Scout project, I decided to embark on a 10-month long project to reorganize and modernize the library located on the grounds,” Gounardes told his Facebook friends.

His father, Dr. Steven Gounardes, a Bay Ridge dentist, served as president of the academy for 10 years.

“But most importantly, throughout my entire life, I’ve witnessed the incredibly special care that Saint Basil Academy gives to the children entrusted to its protection. It really and truly is God’s work,” Andrew Gounardes wrote.

Gounardes has been a runner for many years and has participated in numerous half-marathon races.

Earlier this year, he joined the Ridge Runners, a team organized by Bay Ridge resident Felix Chen.

The team, which has more than a dozen members, meets every Tuesday night at 7: 30 p.m. at the 69th Street Pier and runs along the nearby Shore Road Promenade. The runners also get together on the first Tuesday of every month at the Fort Hamilton High School Athletic Field to run sprints on the track.

The team has participated in several local races in Brooklyn, including the Hoban Run, an annual event held in memory of Police Officer Christopher Hoban, a Xaverian High School graduate.

But Gounardes will face his biggest test on Nov. 6.

“Training for a marathon is no picnic, and I need all the motivation I can get to keep me going from now until I run/walk/crawl across that finish line in Central Park,” he wrote.

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