After seeing 700 participants show up last August, the Athlete’s to End Alzheimer’s 5K Walk/Run is back for year two and looking to raise the stakes.
“Last year was a huge success,” said event coordinator and founder Michael Loftus of Loftus Wealth Strategies in Millville.
“This year, we’re way ahead. We’d like to get 1,000 people signed up, if we could.”
The event raised $18,000 through both the race and fundraising efforts throughout 2015, donating all proceeds to the Delaware Valley Alzheimer’s Association. That’s also a goal that Loftus said they were looking to improve upon for year two, aiming for $25,000 in 2016.
“What we found was people were definitely there for the cause. Alzheimer’s affects so many people,” said Loftus, who lost his own father in 2013 after a six year battle with Alzheimer’s.
“It was an emotional day, that’s why people do this.”
According to alz.org, more than 5 million Americans suffer from the disease, making Alzheimer’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States (more than breast and prostate cancer combined).
Patient care for those suffering from the disease is also costly, with alz.org also reporting that in 2016, Alzheimer’s and other dementias with cost the nation a collective $236 million.
To help the offset that cost, the run not only raises funds through registration, but also allows participants to sign up and form a team to fundraise themselves.
Most teams are named after family members or friends who have passed away or currently suffer from Alzheimer’s, including “Team Pappy,” which was organized by Loftus’ 13-year-old daughter, Brighid, and raised more than $1,400 last year alone.
Brighid and the rest of Team Pappy will be at Hocker’s in Millville from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, raffling off gift cards to continue those efforts this year and to provide information about the event.
While the race is, of course, about the cause and awareness, 5K enthusiasts may note that the event will again be put on by Rick Hundley, Ernie Felici and Focus Multi-Sports (Coastal Delaware Running Festival, First Responders Tri-Du-Aquabike).
The 5K course starts in downtown Bethany Beach, with a boardwalk finish, and participants are welcome to either run or walk to show support.
After the race, there will be post-race entertainment, including music from D.J. Padraig, awards and refreshments.
Registration for the Sunday, Aug. 7, event is currently open online, and volunteers are still needed. Loftus encouraged participants to sign up before Sunday, July 31, to guarantee their official race shirt and spot, with last year’s race selling out.
Race-day registration, if available, will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Garfield Parkway and the Bethany boardwalk and costs $35. For more information, to donate, to volunteer or to register online, visit www.alzrun.com, or for more information, contact Michael Loftus at firstname.lastname@example.org.