Just a few blocks north of the epicenter of the unrest after Freddie Gray's death, about 5,500 runners will race between the Maryland Zoo and Lake Montebello this Saturday to raise money for local charities as part of the eighth annual Baltimore 10 Miler.
Lee Corrigan, president of Corrigan Sports Enterprises and founder of the 10 Miler, said at a news conference Thursday that the event has taken on new meaning this year in light of the city's recent violence.
"This is not the city that our runners have known and appreciate," Corrigan said. "It is our social responsibility to be part of the solution moving forward."
A week after violence erupted in Baltimore, organizers added YouthWorks, the city's summer youth employment program, to the list of official charity partners in response to the unrest, according to Dave Gell, CSE's director of communications and social media. Specially-designed T-shirts will be sold at the event for $20, and proceeds will benefit the organization that is seeking to place about 1,000 more students in jobs this summer.
Gell anticipates $25,000 will be raised for YouthWorks and the other official charity partners: Frank J. Battaglia Signal 13 Foundation, which provides financial assistance to Baltimore Police personnel who suffer personal emergencies; The Ragonese Family Trust to benefit former Corrigan Sports Enterprise Vice President of Operations Mark Ragonese; Girls on the Run, a nonprofit that promotes female athleticism; Athletes Serving Athletes, a nonprofit serving the disabled; and the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Individual runners may raise money for other causes.
"Events like this bring the city back — and it will bring the city back — to where it was," said Baltimore Police Col. Darryl DeSousa.
DeSousa praised Signal 13 for services they've provided to him in the past.
"We've had officers whose family members have been ill, and they help out with expenses. We even have family members that have lost a life … and Signal 13 has even assisted with picking up some of the expenses for funerals."
Corrigan Sports, which also facilitates the Baltimore Running Festival, will donate money for every runner certain charity representatives pass during the race: the fastest police officer running for Signal 13 will raise $3 per runner; WJZ-TV Sports Director Mark Viviano will earn $2 per runner for The Ragonese Family Trust; and ABC2's Cheryl Connor will raise $1 per runner for Girls on the Run. Corrigan donated $7,000 on Thursday to the Maryland Zoo in honor of the Miler.
Corrigan said registration was lower than desired this year possibly because of the race's proximity to the city's recent violence. According to Gell, the organizers aim to grow participation 10 percent each year.
For the first time, Corrigan said, the event will be broadcast live on WMAR. The race starts at 7:30 a.m. Saturday on Mansion House Drive at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Registration is open Friday at the zoo entrance from noon to 7 p.m.