In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, crowds poured in for the Pink Pumpkin Run despite the inclement weather.
According to Andrea Oliver, director of the Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers, Saturday’s 10th anniversary Pink Pumpkin Run was a landmark for the foundation and breast cancer awareness. Despite a drizzly morning, she said temperatures and spirits were high as everyone celebrated 10 years of the county’s premier fall running event.
“We’ve missed the sun at our event for the last few years, but it hasn’t deterred our support one bit,” Oliver said. “Even when conditions aren’t ideal, people always have a big smile on their face and are just proud to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”
The run has grown over the last decade, Oliver said. In 2010, there were a little more than 350 people who participated in the inaugural event, and she said this year registrations totaled more than 1,200 with approximately 750 people crossing the finish line.
Early fundraising reports show this year’s event raised more than $70,000, and Oliver said donations could still be made until the end of November.
“The majority of the funds we raise comes directly from our generous sponsors, who are the backbone of this event,” Oliver said.
Proceeds support the Mammography Assistance Program at Marshall Medical Centers, which she said provides free mammogram screenings for women who financial need.
“The fact that the Pink Pumpkin Run keeps growing is a testament to the fact that people are proud to see this money stay in our community,” Oliver said. “Until there is a cure for cancer, our best defense is screening and early detection, which is why we do this event every year for our friends, family and neighbors.”
At this year’s event, the majority of participants came from Alabama — from Huntsville to Mobile — but Oliver said representatives from other states including Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York joined in as well.
According to Oliver, 65 teams competed for trophies in categories including “Best Team Name,” “Best Team T-Shirt,” “Most Registered Participants” and “Best Team Costumes.” She said the trophies for “Most Race Day Participants” and the Amy-Duvall Nixon Award for most funds raised went to Team Duvall, who raised almost $3,000 on their own and ran in memory of Nixon for whom the trophy was named for after she lost her battle with breast cancer two years ago.
Oliver said other standouts included the Marshall Medical Centers Emergency Department who won the “MMC Interdepartmental Challenge” this year with the best combined time for a designated 5K, 10K and walker participant; Piper Hales, of Boaz, who completed her first 5K; Marshall Cancer Care Center Oncologist, Dr. Jonathan Storey, and Sand Mountain Family Practice Dr. Roan Gannon, who both medaled in the 10k Masters Division; and Marshall Cancer Care Center Oncologist Dr. Gideon Ewing, who won first place in his age division for the 5K.
Oliver said nearly 100 volunteers rounded out the list of participants lending a hand in all areas.
“We could not execute this event without all the help we get on Race Day,” Oliver said. “From our family members who arrive with us before sunrise, to the Guntersville Rescue Squad, fire department and police department who make sure our runners stay safe to the volunteers from Guntersville High and Middle School to don the Pink Pumpkin suit and paint faces, to the tireless volunteers cooking pancakes and sausage for hundreds of hungry runners — it takes a village!
“It does take a village to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last decade, which is exactly what the Pink Pumpkin Run has done,” Oliver continued. “And, Marshall Medical is looking forward to the next decade of promoting breast cancer awareness alongside their community.”
For more information, the complete list of results and additional photos from the race, to visit pinkpumpkinrun.com.