Runners raise $600,000

This year's edition of the walk had 16,267 registered runners and walkers and raised over $600,000 dollars, said Jenna Holman, events coordinator for Children's Hospital.

"This is an event rich in history and we're excited to have this many Marquette students and alumni involved," said Kim George, Marquette's athletic advancement officer.

George, who headed the volunteer program for Al's Run/Walk, said that 160 people volunteered to help with the walk.

"There are many duties of a volunteer," George said. "Some help with registration, work with the Children's Hospital information table, work as traffic directors and count pledges."

Men's basketball coach Tom Crean and wife Joani were this year's grand marshals.

"I think just about everyone who ever has participated in this event has had a great time," Crean said, addressing participants before the race. "Part of the fun is the effort it takes to get to that finish line, whether you're running for a medal or walking with your kids."

Crean also said that the children of the hospital are another reason why Marquette students and residents of Milwaukee get involved in Al's Run/Walk.

"Those are the kids who need our help," Crean said. "Not all of us can be doctors and nurses. Not all of us can provide the hands-on care these kids need. But each and every one of us can raise pledges for Al's Memorial Run and Walk or make a gift that helps provide that care."

This year's event was especially important because of the new Al McGuire Center, according to Jack Harbaugh, assistant director of Athletics.

"Al McGuire had a great love for family and friends, a tremendous passion for basketball," Harbaugh said. "He cared deeply and loved Marquette, and he had great pride in Al's Run/Walk. So I encourage you, as you're running past the finish line, to look at the new Al McGuire Center and see if you see him smiling down."

The annual event began in 1978, when McGuire wanted to thank the fans of the Marquette Warriors during the 1977 NCAA championship season. In the first event there were 4,100 runners and by 2002, there were more than 15,000, Holman said.

Over the years, the walk has raised more than $5.2 million to help the Children's Hospital provide medical professionals and inform community members about issues related to children's health, Holman said.,”Rikida N. Starace”