The “Running Bitcoin Challenge” in memory of Hal Finney is back on

The Running Bitcoin Challenge charity event in honor of the first Bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney is back. The event raises money for research and treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which took Hal’s life in 2014.

The event, which accepts donations in USD and BTC, requires participants to complete a half-marathon distance – run, walk or roll, all at once – by the end of January 10, 2023. The Running Bitcoin Challenge is now annual and this is the second time it will take place.

Hal’s name is high in the Bitcoin pantheon as one of the first people to support Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention and the first person to receive a Bitcoin transaction from Satoshi. He was for some time considered one of the main candidates on the list of potential Satoshis (many who reject the testimony of Dr. Craig Wright on the blockchain still falsely believe that Finny is the true creator of Bitcoin).

He was a regular runner and according to his wife, Fran Finney, the half marathon was his favorite distance. There are photos of them competing in distance races together long after Finny was confined to a wheelchair. He personally raised money for ALS research at the Santa Barbara International Marathon. Fran is the honorary chair of the Golden West chapter of the ALS Association in California, which organized the event.

Hal’s January 11, 2009 tweet is also legendary in Bitcoin, giving the charity its name and mileage:

“I know Hal would love the theme of this event,” Fran said in the video. “Funds raised will support the Golden West Chapter’s mission to find treatments and cures for ALS and to serve and advocate for people affected by ALS.”

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A self-proclaimed “cypherpunk,” Hal was a cryptographic activist who went from developing video games to working on the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) project in the 1990s. He described PGP’s work as “dedicated to the goal of making Big Brother obsolete.” PGP founder Phil Zimmerman hired Hal as his first employee when PGP became PGP Corporation in the early 2000s. She described Hal as a “responsible guy” who loved skiing and long-distance running.

Just a few months after posting the famous Bitcoin tweet, Hal was diagnosed with ALS (also known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”). ALS, the most common type of motor neurone disease, causes patients to lose control of voluntary muscle movements and gradually weaken until they can no longer eat or breathe.

Despite paralysis, which gradually forced him to stop working, Hal continued to code software and monitor the Bitcoin project. Almost as famous as his 2009 tweet is his March 2013 “Bitcoin and Me” post on, his most recent post. It’s a long post, and Hal was “basically paralyzed” at the time and used an eye tracker to write. Forum statistics show that the post has been read more than 278,000 times.

“When Satoshi announced the first release of the software, I grabbed it right away,” he said. “I think I was the first person other than Satoshi to handle bitcoin. I mined block 70 and became the recipient of the first bitcoin transaction when Satoshi sent me ten coins as a test. Over the next few days I had an email conversation with Satoshi, mostly reporting bugs and he fixed them.

Hal himself has always denied being Satoshi Nakamoto, and later added that he sold most of the bitcoins he mined (at pre-2014 prices) to pay for medical expenses. He also mentioned putting some in a safe deposit box for his kids.

“And, of course, I’m amused by the price cycle of bitcoins. I have skin in the game. But I came up with my bitcoins by luck, giving me very little credit. I experienced the crash of 2011. I’ve seen it before. Come easy, go easy.”

See: BSV Global Blockchain Convention presentation, BSV Blockchain: A World of Good

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New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek Bitcoin for beginners The section is the ultimate resource guide for learning more about Bitcoin and blockchain as envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto.

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