Nine-year-old runs Blue Ridge Relay Marathon for fallen trooper Dowell

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - People of all ages hit our rolling hills today for the Blue Ridge Marathon. We spoke to one young man who ran for a special reason.

Nine-year-old Braxton Lee runs over 1,000 miles a year, but he doesn't run for himself.

"Because I want to make sure they're never forgotten and their families aren't either," Lee said.

It's for others: fallen troopers killed in the line of duty. Lee ran and won this year's Blue Ridge Relay Marathon in honor of fallen trooper Lucas Dowell from Chilhowie. He runs in races all over the Southeast for people who can't. His organization's name is even "Braxton Running for People Who Can't."

"Sometimes money is raised, most of the time it's awareness and being able to offer the family this remembrance and this way of honoring someone who sacrifices so much for us," Amanda Ward, a member of Braxton's running team, said.

Lee wasn't the only child who ran. Seven-year-old Natalie Bush completed the half-marathon with her brother in less than 3 and a half hours. "I wanted to sign up because my mom is a really good runner, and I want to be like her someday," Bush said.

Her mom ran the full marathon. She's been running for 11 years and trains with her kids almost every night.

"The only thing I wanted to do was get back to the two of them through this race, and seeing them with their little trophies, just makes my whole year," Kathy Bush, Natalie's mother, said.

The kids see this race as a success.

"It went fine, it was fun, just hard," Derek Bush, Natalie's brother who also competed in the half-marathon, said.

Natalie added, "It went really good, and I have something to say about my mom. I think she's amazing at running and I think shes going to be doing that for a long time."

And so does Lee, who's not stopping his mission anytime soon

"I just thought maybe I could help raise money for their family," Lee said.