BOSTON -- The fourth annual Run-Walk to Home Base
could have as many as 4,000 runners cross home plate at Fenway Park on May 4, 2013.
The race's date, which falls on the first Saturday of the month, was announced Wednesday afternoon by the Red Sox Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital and New Balance. Since the Red Sox Foundation introduced the event in 2010, more than $7.3 million has been raised to support Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and their families.
There have been more than 2.2 million men and women who served in the military in those nations since 2001, and an estimated one in three veterans will experience post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
"With our long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ending, it's critical we recognize and remember our veterans' service and sacrifices," Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said in a news release. "This inspiring fundraiser allows us to say thank you, as a community, to our extraordinary service members. With the return of New Balance as our generous presenting sponsor, the 2013 Run-Walk to Home Base is off to a great start."
Participants can participate in a 5.6-mile (9K) run or an approximately two-mile walk.
The money raised by the event supports the Red Sox Foundation and Mass General Home Base Program. The latter was established to provide care and support to Iraq and Afghanistan vets and their families affected by combat stress and TBI.
New Balance, the athletic shoe manufacturer, has been the presenting sponsor of the race since its inception and is promoting the race at its Copley Square store. BAE systems, a global defense company, is another major sponsor.
"The support of Run-Walk to Home Base participants and sponsors has allowed the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program to offer care to veterans, regardless of discharge status, insurance coverage or ability to pay," said retired Brig. Gen. Jack A. Hammond, the executive director of Home Base. "We've also provided education on the invisible wounds of war to more than 5,000 clinicians across the country and hundreds of school nurses, employers and first-responders in Massachusetts."
Race organizers made some changes to registration this year that open up the race to an even wider crowd. Those who register prior to Jan. 15 will have a lower fundraising minimum of $750. All others need to bring in at least $1,000.
The minimum age for participating has been dropped to 14 years old, and those younger can walk if they raise at least $125 and are accompanied by a full-fundraising adult.
The number of participants is capped at 4,000, and fundraising prizes will be given to Run-Walk participants in several categories. Up to 500 full-time, active-duty military members can enter the Run-Walk for a $50 registration fee.
Event registration and information is available at runtohomebase.org.
Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich.