The 2014 Boomer’s Cystic Fibrosis Run to Breathe on Saturday (12) in Central Park, New York had a slightly different look this year, but the fourth edition of this annual race still had the same spirit and camaraderie which makes it an annual favourite on the NYRR calendar.
With conditions in Central Park frequently at their hottest and muggiest in mid-July, what used to be a 10km is now a four-miler, allowing for more athletes with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) to participate and inspire, but to sweat just a little less.
“It’s a little bit easier for guys like me,” joked the race’s namesake, NFL Hall of Famer Boomer Esiason whose foundation which helps to arrange the race, has raised more than $100 million for Cystic Fibrosis.
“There are more than 25 CF runners here, and the fact that they’re even out here running is amazing, but in this weather it’s very dangerous, so we want to make sure everybody finishes and has a great race,” added Boomer.
The new race distance also meant that new event records would be established. Germa Segni won the men’s race in 19:45, and Tigist Tufa from Ethiopia was the first female finisher, with a time of 22:42.
The real focus of the day, though, was the fight against cystic fibrosis, a fatal respiratory disease that affects more than 30,000 people in the United States.
“This race energizes our Team Boomer base, lets everyone know we’re promoting athletic activity for our CF patients all year round, and starts to lead up to our Super Bowl, the TCS New York Marathon,” Esiason said.
Boomer’s son Gunnar, a CF patient and a 2013 graduate of Boston College, held the finish-line tape with Jerry Cahill, a fellow CF patient who completed the event in 2012, just three months after receiving a double lung transplant.
Together, they cheered their Team Boomer teammates, and the more than 5,500 finishers of today’s race.
“I ran it the first year, and it’s crazy to see how huge it is now. It’s come a long way,” Gunnar said. “It makes me very proud to see how many supporters we have and how engaged everyone is in the fight against CF.”
A perennial presence at this race is ‘Team Campbell’, who had a record 40 runners registered in this year’s race, and just as many supporting on the sidelines.
Bobby Campbell, whose son Luke was diagnosed with CF at an early age, drives a school bus full of supporters from Long Island to the event in Central Park each year, and this burgeoning support network has expanded every year so far.
“This wonderful event and the hope and support that the entire day exudes has touched our team so much and been shared by them throughout the year, attracting new excited supporters for the following years,” said Bobby.
“Seeing so many determined and thriving individuals with cystic fibrosis standing up to the health challenges that they share with my son Luke and other CF families like ours, gives my family hope that Luke can and will have a long and wonderful life ahead of him.
“For Team Campbell, the BEF Run to Breathe is the event that we all look forward to throughout the year. We love seeing so many runners on the course who have CF and will not let their diagnosis keep them from living the life that they desire.”
With help from NYRR for worldrunning.com