Early Saturday morning, April 21st, the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania hosted their annual Walk/Run to raise funds for Red Cross activities in our area. The race began at Memorial Hall in Fairmont Park taking runners and walkers past the Japanese Tea Garden and the Horticulture Center. Despite calls for rain later in the day, the weather was fantastic. The Philadelphia region had enjoyed temperatures in the low seventies all week with mild winds. Despite the 8:30am start time, many of the more than 900 runners and walkers were in t-shirts and shorts by the start of the race.
It was a day for competition on several levels. Organizations in the Philadelphia area sponsored teams to raise money. The most successful was Exelon (the parent company of PSE&G), which raised $12,138. Other significant fund raisers were two SEPA office sponsored teams, ES Faster than Disaster ($8,332) and Fund Racers ($5.117). The team from the Philadelphia law firm, Blank Rome raised $4,660. In addition, there were prizes for first, second and third place finishers (male and female) from each decade. Four men in their late twenties/early thirties finished under a 6 minute mile pace. The first female finisher, Robin English, was fifth at a 6:02 min/mile pace. Spectators who came out not only showed their support for the Red Cross but enjoyed some impressive athleticism as well.
Not everyone was there to test their racing abilities. The Run/Walk was extremely dog and cat friendly. Participating pooches enjoyed a special dog tent with giveaways of toys and treats. Red Paw Emergency Relief, a service connected with the Red Cross that attends to and cares for animals caught in disasters, was on hand to participate. Volunteers from Red Paw brought several animals to the race and Red Cross employee, Carol Barnett, adopted two kittens on sight. She named them Mickey and Minnie and is thrilled to provide them a new home.
The race was a great opportunity for families with small children to get out of the house, enjoy the weather and push a stroller or two through Fairmont Park. Large and furry Fred Cross and Ernie the ERV were on hand to play with little ones. Eleven year old, Megan Weeks, displayed extraordinary running prowess by being the first female to finish the race in the 18 and under category. Many parents walked or ran along side their adolescent children, using the rare opportunity to connect with a teenager while supporting a worthy cause together.
Significant numbers of walkers and runners wore red, which provided a striking contrast to the light greens trees of the park in April and reminded everyone of the event’s mission and purpose. The Walk and Run helps to raise funds for Red Cross House and local families left homeless by a fire, flood, or other disaster. The Red Cross Walk & Run to Save Lives is a 5K walk/run around Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. As the biggest fund-raiser for the Red Cross, the Walk & Run supports programs and services to help our community prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. People are invited to “participate in honor of the hero who saved your life, a family member’s, or a friend’s - to honor the thousands of heroes who, trained by the Red Cross, are ready to help save your life.” The Red Cross would like to extend its gratitude to participants who make it possible to answer the call for help, one family at a time, whenever and wherever disaster strikes.
The American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. The Red Cross is not a government agency. All Red Cross assistance is free of charge. Financial contributions are always welcomed and needed and can be made by going to RedCrossPhilly.org.
Contact: Dave Schrader (215) 299-4042 or after hours (215) 299-4889, Dave.Schrader@redcross.org