Walk Option added to 2012 Run to Home Base Event

BOSTON, MA – For the first time, runners and walkers alike will be able to experience the thrill of crossing home base at Fenway Park – and supporting returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families – as they join in the 3rd annual Run-Walk to Home Base Presented by New Balance currently being planned for Sunday, May 20, 2012. 

The 2012 Run-Walk to Home Base Presented by New Balance raises funds to support the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, which provides clinical care and support services to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and families affected by combat or deployment stress and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Today, wounded veterans who are clients of the Home Base Program joined other military and officials from the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital to announce the new Run-Walk to Home Base will occur on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at Fenway Park.  In 2012 for the first time, both runners and walkers will be able to participate in the fan-favorite event that ends with crossing Fenway's famous homeplate.  

“As our troops come home from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of us want to honor and thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice," said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. "By adding a walk component to the 2012 Run-Walk to Home Base Presented by New Balance, we can accommodate more adults and families who can show their support for our service members, veterans and families, while sharing the rare experience of running through Fenway Park, the oldest and most beloved ballpark in the country in its 100th year of operations."

For the third year in a row, the presenting sponsor of the Run-Walk is global athletic shoe and apparel company New Balance.

“As a Boston-based company and official military apparel and footwear provider, we are proud to return as presenting sponsor of this unique event that enables valuable support services for New England servicemen and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.” says New Balance President and CEO Rob DeMartini.  “We look forward to welcoming both runners and walkers at iconic Fenway Park on May 20th in support of our country’s service members.”

Registration and event information for the 2012 Run-Walk to Home Base Presented by New Balance is available at www.runtohomebase.org.  All donations made in support of runners in this charitable fundraising race are tax deductible and will be directed to the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program.  Donations via check can be sent to the Red Sox Foundation/Home Base Program, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston MA 02215.

Participation in the 2012 event is limited to a maximum of 4,000 participants. Runners must be 16 years or older, but Walkers can be any age as long as accompanied by a fundraising adult. All Runners and Walkers 16 years and older must commit to raise a minimum of $1,000 to participate in the event and complete registration requirements online at www.runtohomebase.org.  For the first time, children under age 16 will be allowed to participate in the 3-mile Walk event. 

Walkers age 6 to 15 are required to commit to raise or pay  $125 each and must be accompanied by an adult fundraising walker who raises the adult fundraising minimum.  All walkers and runners age 16 and older must raise $1,000.  The 9K Run portion of the event is 5.6 miles.

In honor of their current military service, the event organizers will announce at a later date how up to 500 full-time active duty military will be able enter the Run-Walk for just a $50 registration fee.

Over the past two years,  Run participants raised over $5  million to support the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program.

The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program provides clinical care, counseling and support services to Iraq and Afghanistan service members, veterans and their families affected by combat or deployment-related stress, and traumatic brain injury (TBI).  In addition the program provides community education to the public on these “invisible wounds of war” and supports research in the understanding and treatment of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and TBI.  

“Thanks to the generosity of last year’s Run to Home Base participants and sponsors, we have been able to expand the numbers of veterans and families in care regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay, and make significant progress in training first-responders like clergy, school nurses and educators on the needs of military families,” said John A. Parrish, MD, Director of the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, and a Vietnam veteran who served as a Navy medical officer with the Marine Corps.

Other official sponsors include BAE Systems, a NH-based defense contractor and major supporter of the Home Base Program; Our Family for Families First, a Rhode Island based nonprofit that provides scholarships to veterans and their families; and NESN, the Red Sox television broadcaster Friends and family members of participants in the 2012 Run-Walk are invited to Fenway Park on race morning to cheer from the stands and watch the runners cross home plate. Other activities will include a Military Appreciation Zone presented by BAE Systems and The Family Fun Zone, located in the Fenway Park concourse areas, where supporters of all ages will make and send care packages to military members on duty abroad. 

More than 2.2 million men and women have served in U.S. military during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan which began as part of the 2001 War on Terror.  It has been estimated that one-third will experience post traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury.  Some 800,000 service members have been deployed to combat more than once, and the multiple deployments have taken a toll on many military families.  The Massachusetts Office of Veterans Services estimates that 37,000 Massachusetts residents have served during the past 10 years as active duty, guard and reserve.  Some 13,000 Massachusetts children have a parent currently serving in the military.

Fundraising prizes will be given to run participants in several categories. For information about  corporate sponsorships, please contact Gena Borson at the Red Sox Foundation at 617-226- 6614 or via email at Gborson@redsox.com or Tracy West at Massachusetts General Hospital at 617-643-6789 or email tawest@partners.org.

Course and race consulting for the 2012 Run-Walk to Home Base is provided by DMSE, Inc, while the fundraising website design and operations is provided by Forte Interactive, Inc. The Red Sox Foundation and Mass General Hospital are grateful to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Dept of Conservation and Recreation for their expert assistance with the event.