Freed to run adds powerhouse proponents, community co-chairs

Eric Krall of Community First Credit Union, Ryan Ludwick of Fisher, Tousey, Leas & Ball, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid CEO Jim Kowalski, and Darnell Smith of Florida Blue on the lawn of the Duval County Courthouse, where Freed to Run will finish Dec. 20.

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid’s largest fundraiser, Freed to Run, will get a boost this year from three newly-appointed co-chairs of the event: Darnell Smith, Florida Blue’s market president for North Florida; Eric Krall, mortgage sales manager with Community First Credit Union; and Ryan M. Ludwick, an attorney with Fisher, Tousey, Leas & Ball.

The trio will work to attract more sponsors and relay teams, with Smith focusing on the health-care community, Krall on the business community, and Ludwick on the legal community and related industries.

The third annual Freed to Run, a six-marathon series supports civil legal aid for pediatric patients. All proceeds from the Dec. 15-20 Capitol to Coast relay series will go toward an endowment for the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership and will be matched at 125% by Baptist Health. The NFMLP provides civil legal aid to pediatric patients and their families to ensure they have safe and sanitary housing, as well as access to health care, educational accommodations, and other needed services.

Freed to Run began in 2017 when Gunster shareholder Mike Freed ran six consecutive marathons from the steps of the Florida Supreme Court to the lawn of the Duval County Courthouse, stopping at courthouses along the route and raising more than $70,000 for JALA. Last year he repeated the six-day journey accompanied each day by relay teams, and together Freed, the 17 teams and other sponsors and supporters raised $400,000, with more than half coming from Baptist Health’s match.

For information about sponsoring Freed to Run, registering a team or donating, visit