Our 9th year in San Francisco was a record-breaker!

Our 9th year in San Francisco was a record-breaker on many levels!  With over 25,000 entered in the race events—Full Marathon, 2 Half Marathons, 5k and Progressive Marathon—all events sold out and in record time.   Coming off of an amazing year in 2010 for Team Parkinson, we surpassed last year’s totals in fundraising as well breaking new records for San Francisco for money raised for Parkinson’s research (currently close to $90,000, and counting!).  Our Team Carbo Load dinner the night before the race was also the largest yet, with close to 90 in attendance!

Race weekend started out as usual with the 2-day race expo at the SF Design Center.   John and Edna Ball and Carol Walton and I manned the Team Parkinson booth each day and had so much fun greeting all of our team members who came by to visit and get their Team P shirts, and we also enjoyed talking to the many people who discovered Team Parkinson for the first time as they saw our booth and came up to ask what we were all about,  this makes our presence at these events so important—in addition to the money raised for research we are raising awareness, and also encouraging others to get involved and join our cause. 

On Saturday we had two very specials guests spend some time at the booth—Michael Jones and Kelly Turner from Abbott, our premier sponsor for Team Parkinson!  We are so grateful to Abbott for the support they provide, and Michael and Kelly were so enthusiastic about our team and event, it was great to have their wonderful spirit with us!

Saturday evening we gathered at Castagnola’s Restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf for our pre-race Team dinner.  We once again were fortunate to have Dr. J. William Langston, Founder, CEO and Scientific Director of the Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, as our guest speaker.  He had very optimistic news to report about all of the promising research being conducted currently, including no less than 25 clinical trials taking place at the Institute at this time!

We then announced our prizewinner for the top individual fundraiser this year in SF—Dan Driscoll.  Dan and his amazing family have been with us many years, and have won this award each year they have taken part!   Dan and his wife Barb spoke about how they achieve their fundraising success, including a special party they held at their home this year. 

The team dinner is one of my favorite activities on race weekend. I love it when our team members and families get to meet each other and share stories, joys, challenges, and offer support to each other.   It’s so wonderful to see our Team Parkinson family grow each year.

The next morning, the marathoners and first half runners were up early, some starting their races as early as 5:30am!   For those doing the 5k, we gathered near the starting line around 7:30 with some photo-taking and mingling taking place before we started out strong in our bright Team Parkinson shirts and signs and spread out along the race course.  Some ran, some walked but all did it with spirit and determination and everyone in all our events was able to finish their races and with that carried our cause across the finish line with them. 

After the 5k we set up our cheering section in front of Red’s Java House, a few blocks before the finish line.  Other team members came over at various times and it was also a little reunion area for some.  The close proximity to their delicious cheeseburgers was another bonus, and helped to keep both those cheering, and those who had just completed their races fueled up and happy!

I must give a special congratulations to Gregg Riehl, one of our runners with Parkinson’s who finished his first full marathon that day!  He looked great as he passed by our cheering section, and wore his medal proudly afterwards—way to go Gregg we are so proud of you!

A big THANK YOU to all who participated in some way, shape or form this year, whether as a runner, walker, fundraiser, donor, cheerleader, sponsor, or all or some of the above! You’ve helped to make this one of the best years yet in San Francisco, and we can’t wait to see what 2012--- our 10th Anniversary—will bring!! Save the date for July 29th, 2012, and we hope to see you back in the city by the bay!

Jen Bugnatto
Team Parkinson SF Volunteer Chair

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