In 1985, Brent Nicholson Earle and some dedicated friends were working to obtain not-for-profit status for an organization to bring awareness to AIDS. They had established a dedicated Board of Directors and recruited a core team of reliable volunteers.  And they'd come up with a big idea. 


By the end of 1985, Brent, had run five marathons and 3500 training miles.  He had been preparing for running the perimeter of the U.S. and to three Canadian cities on the northern route to raise awareness about AIDS and funds to help end the crisis.  


He was accompanied on the entire Run by his 70-year-old mother, Marion Nicholson, who drove her old Buick Regal behind her son as pace car.  They started out from New York City on March 1, 1986.


The role of Road Manager was filled by a few stalwart volunteers, predominantly Terrah Keener who was Road Manager from the 2nd to the 6th month.  When a suitable replacement for Terrah could not be found, AREA’s Executive Director, Bill Konkoy, packed up his files and electric typewriter and joined the Run in Missoula, Montana in August of 1986 for what was presumed to be a temporary period of time.  Bill ended up finishing the final 14 months with Brent and Marion.  Assuming the duties of Road Manager, Bill continued to administrate this unprecedented event from payphones in campgrounds all around America.  Back in New York, the Officers of AREA’s Board - Anita Ross, Charles and Jackie Leighton and Cathy Lee Crane - anchored the Run’s transcontinental activities. 


This entire 20-month inaugural event was financed without any grants or a single cent of corporate sponsorship.  As head of fundraising, AREA Vice-President, Charles Leighton, daily sent three teams of tablers from his and his wife’s apartment in Manhattan Plaza to New York street corners where they sold AREA tee-shirts and buttons and collected donations. 


On October 31, 1987, when the Run finally returned to New York, Leighton produced a spectacular Homecoming that included a pledge run for the People With AIDS Coalition from the George Washington Bridge, to a rally in Union Square hosted by Joseph Papp and Raquel Welch and attended by more than 4,000 people.  As a way of illustrating his closing remark, “My Run may be finished but the race against AIDS is far from over,” Nicholson Earle ran the New York Marathon the next day!


In the almost 30 years since then, AREA has continued to produce ambitious events to help maintain a high level of awareness about AIDS in America and around the world.  We welcome everyone to join our campaign. 


Please check out our history and what we’re up to currently, and see how you might get involved.  We believe ordinary people can make extraordinary differences!

Robert F. Kennedy




Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills - against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence.  Few of us will have the greatness to bend history itself.  But each of us can work to change a small portion of events and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.  It is from numberless, diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.  Each time a man or a woman stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends a tiny ripple of hope.  And crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

-Robert F. Kennedy