BOSTON — The Red Sox and the Red Sox Foundation held the first annual Run to Home Base 9K run Sunday morning. Over 2,000 runners from across Massachusetts and the nation ran to support the Home Base program that helps veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs).
Peter Gleason of Millbury, Mass., crossed home plate at Fenway first in a little over 31 minutes. Alexandra Varanka of Amherst, N.H., was the first woman to cross the plate, finishing her run a little over 34 minutes.
The course started on Yawkey Way and made its way to Massachusetts Avenue where runners crossed the Charles River and ran along the Cambridge side before crossing it again back into Boston. The official finish line was placed in front of the Green Monster in Fenway Park. But all runners continued on to the “photo finish,” where they crossed home plate in the historic ballpark.
The run was the first in what the Red Sox Foundation hopes to be an annual event. The event raised approximately $2.4 million for the Home Base Program, according to Red Sox chairman Tom Werner in his speech before the start of the race. The event also raised awareness for conditions like PTSD and TBIs, which carry a stigma that must be overcome to seek treatment.
“We must reduce the stigma,” said General George Casey, the Army chief of staff, who also made a speech before the start of the race. “That way we can help them [soldiers] recover.”
Runners ran either in teams or on their own for loved ones serving in the armed forces. They ran for those who have died while on duty, and veterans themselves also participated — including a Marine who lost his leg in Fallujah, Iraq, and ran the 5.6 miles with an artificial leg.
After all the runners crossed home plate, the Red Sox opened the warning track up to the public to take a stroll along the historic ballpark.