At a sunny, sweaty Fenway Park on July 23, more than 2,000 runners and walkers, including 300 active-duty Service Members and military family members, participated in the 2016 Run to Home Base presented by New Balance. The 9K run or 2.5 mile walk began on Yawkey Way and featured a photo-finish for participants crossing home plate. The event called attention to the one-in-three Veterans who return from war with invisible wounds.
The event’s opening ceremony was hosted by Tom Caron and featured notable speakers such as: Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner Massachusetts General Hospital President Dr. Peter Slavin, MD; New Balance Vice President of Public Affairs Matt LeBretton; and Home Base Executive Director Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond.
Massachusetts government officials were also in attendance: Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh spoke to the crowd as Congressman Joe Kennedy III enjoyed opening remarks and subsequently ran in the early-morning 9k.
Former Home Base patient and Purple Heart recipient retired Sgt. Kurt Power gave a powerful speech about his own invisible wounds, explaining he participated in the Run to Home Base long before he knew Home Base’s programs were for him. Power sought care at Home Base after he returned from Iraq. He and his wife Jessica received couples counseling at the outpatient clinic in addition to Kurt’s own treatment.
“Through treatment, I have learned patience, how to problem solve. I have overcome my guilt and I have learned to communicate better—especially with my wife,’ said Power. “Thanks to Home Base, I not only feel the best I’ve felt since the war but the best I’ve felt in my entire life.”
After opening remarks closed with Power’s emotional story, runners took the Boston streets dressed in tutus and patriotic clothing: some opted to carry giant flags for the entirety of the run. Once inside the ballpark, participants were met with thank you’s from Veterans and Service Members. WCVB-TV’s Karen Anderson was also on the first base line interviewing runners for their Fenway Park videoboard debut as they crossed home plate.
Throughout the morning, spectators and runners alike were met with a multitude of free family activities. BAE Systems presented a Military Appreciation Area where attendants could make care packages and write thank you notes for Service Members. Red Sox fans rejoiced as they took photos with the 2004, 2007 and 2013 World Series Trophies. Wally and Tessie the Green Monsters were also on hand to cheer on runners to home plate.
Thank you to all who made the 2016 Run to Home Base such a success!