First All-Star Fun Run a success
Event focuses on raising cancer awareness
ST. LOUIS -- Zac Freudenburg (15:21) and Vivien Wadeck (17:51) were the top men's and women's finishers, respectively, in a field of 8,000 participants at the first All-Star Charity 5K and Fun Run presented by Sports Authority and Nike.
But by the time all of the medals had been handed out after this successful addition to Major League Baseball's All-Star Week festivities, the race leaders remembered the most were Sherry Lansing, Nancy Brinker and Michael Milken.
"There are the folks that are going to bring an end to cancer in our lifetime, and they deserve a big hand," Tim Brosnan, MLB's executive vice president for business, told the field of runners before their 7:38 a.m. CT start next to Busch Stadium.
Lansing, the former CEO of Paramount Pictures, is one of the nine women who formed Stand Up to Cancer; Brinker, the former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, has led Susan G. Komen for the Cure ever since she made a promise to her dying sister to eradicate breast cancer; and Milken established the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
"I really do hope over the course of the next five days you take the time to understand that Major League Baseball has teamed with these three charities, and we really are going to dedicate ourselves and our industry to curing cancer, and we would hope you do the same," said Brosnan.
Sunday morning's race was historic not only because it was the first of what will be a fixture at future All-Star Games but because it was the first time these three cancer-fighting giants were together at the same time. They posed for pictures and then spoke to the crowd, eliciting emotional reactions from those waiting to run.
Said Lansing: "I am delighted to be here, and I'm delighted to see all 8,000 of you for caring as much as I do about finding an end to cancer. We are all united today because we've all been touched by cancer. Everybody has been touched by cancer. And so we come today to make cancer end.
"When a group of us who had all been touched by cancer came up with the idea of Stand Up to Cancer, we wanted to find a way to do something different. We wanted to create the All-Star team of scientists to tackle cancer, and that's what we did. And the very first people we went to to help us in this quest was Major League Baseball. And Bud Selig and Major League Baseball stepped up to the plate, and they have for all of us. So I want all of us to give a big round of applause to Major League Baseball.
"Today is about collaboration, and that's why we're here. We're all working together. I am so proud today to be standing with two of my partners, Mike Milken and Nancy Brinker. We're all united. These two people were my idols, and they led the way for all of us. I'm grateful that we're all together. And I'm grateful to be sharing the day with all of you who are working so hard, and with Mike and Nancy, and especially a huge, huge, huge thank you to Bud Selig and all the team at Major League Baseball."
"Susan G. Komen for the Cure was founded 27 years ago," said Brinker. "Today, Komen has invested 1.3 billion in breast cancer research and for programs supporting women in communities worldwide.
"Baseball is a game of dreams, and it is our dream at Susan G. Komen to eradicate breast cancer. Thank you, all of you here today, for supporting the work we do at Susan G. Komen to raise money. You bring such strong support to that. I want to congratulate my partners who I'm here today with -- Stand Up to Cancer and the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation. We're all working hard to make a world without cancer. Thank you so much on behalf of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest breast cancer organization, named in honor of my sister 30 years ago, and what a journey it's been."
Said Milken: "It's good to see 8,000 All-Stars competing in the race. It's also great to be in the city with the best baseball fans. As I travel to every ballpark every year in America, there's only one where you see a sea of one color, and that is red in St. Louis. Home to one of the world's greatest managers, Tony La Russa, and the best baseball player in Albert Pujols. It's fitting that the All-Star Game came to St. Louis.
"One in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. One in three women. ... In 14 years with Major League Baseball, we've gone to many games at the Prostate Cancer Foundation with one message: 'Keep Dad in the game.' Get checked."
The All-Star Charity 5K and Fun Run joined an All-Star event lineup that focuses on giving back to the community -- including the All-Star Charity Concert presented by Pepsi benefiting Stand Up to Cancer; "All-Stars Among Us," a national campaign with People magazine that will recognize individuals who have served their communities in extraordinary ways; and in-stadium events highlighted by Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, through which nearly $5 million will be donated to local and national charities through MLB Charities and Cardinals Care.
The charity and community service initiatives, which are themed "Going Beyond," are the most extensive in Major League Baseball All-Star history and complement the celebration of history and traditions of baseball and the Cardinals.
The powerhouse lineup for the Fun Run included Hall of Famer Lou Brock, a St. Louis institution, who started the runners with his airhorn. Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers was there to greet runners, and Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson handed out finisher medals for those who reached the finish line at the Convention Center, the site of FanFest.
Shawn Johnson, Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast and winner of "Dancing With The Stars," was among the runners.
"I'm looking forward to it because it's something that is going to make a lot of people think about a very important cause," Johnson said at the starting line. "It's an honor to be here."
Official race times are expected to be available within a week at MLB.com.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and his wife also were among the runners, and he addressed the field at the start by thanking participants for helping "not only ourselves, but those in the future."
Men's winner Freudenburg set a course record in the St. Louis Marathon in April with a finish of 2:23:57 and was a favorite here. He finished well ahead of Bryan Calloway (16:01) and Steve Bender (16:06). In the women's competition, Wadek finished a full minute ahead of Candace Caveny (18:51), with Megan Hudson coming in third at 19:07.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.