Marquette University hosts annual Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk


Photo by Jordan Johnson

Runners gathered on Wisconsin Ave. for the 2019 Al & Briggs Run.

This past weekend, Marquette University hosted an annual tradition that has existed for over 40 years: The Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk.

The run and walk, named after legendary former Marquette men’s basketball head coach Al McGuire, raises awareness and supports children who have dealt with severe health complications, according to the run’s official website.

McGuire himself founded and organized the race originally known as “Al’s Runin support of the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin with 100% of donations going directly to the prosthetic limb bank.

The donations are now even more widely disbursed, as they go directly to support programs that ease children’s suffering, according to the website.  

In a podcast posted on Marquette’s Twitter page, current Marquette men’s basketball head coach Steve Wojciechowski reflected on the race and the effects it has on the Milwaukee community at large. 

“When you talk about the race, I would love for people to understand it’s a happy place,” he said. “It’s a celebration. Our guys get to hang out with the champions of the race on the morning of.”  

Marquette’s involvement in the race is critical as many current and former students and faculty participate in the run. 

“Marquette talks about getting involved in the community and supporting the whole person,” Monica Geiser, a senior in the College of Health Sciences, said. “The Al & Briggs run is a way for Marquette students to show their support for a wonderful organization that is raising money for a cause we should care about. As a university rooted in Milwaukee, I think it is important to support the community around us that help make us as a community better.” 

The website also said how this has helped the critical fundraiser to be a huge success year after year, as more than $20 million have been raised throughout the rich history of the race.

Personal stories about overcoming adversity, hope, and healing  are the inspiration behind the race.

One of these stories involved Lauren Burke, a mother of a former Children’s patient and executive producer in the Office of Marketing and Communication. She said the missions of Marquette and the hospital are very similar.

I’ve worked at Marquette for 11 years and feel respect and care from my colleagues every time I walk onto campus,” she said.  “It’s palpable. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is also a place that gave me that same feeling. ‘Cura personalis’ means care for the whole person, and that is expressed in so many different ways at both places. It feels like a natural fit to have the race start here on campus.”

This year’s iteration of the run commenced at 12th Street and Wisconsin Avenue and finished at Maier Festival Park, home to Summerfest. 

The run featured two distance options: an 8k Wheelchair or Runner and a three-or-five-mile Walker route.

Former patients of Children’s were admitted free of charge and received a complimentary breakfast. Marquette athletes and various characters such as Disney princes also attended the race to provide extra fun for kids.

Geiser shared her personal favorite memory of the race with a unique family connection.

“Last year … my dad and sister actually ran … with me,” Geiser said. “My dad used to run the Al & Briggs when he went to Marquette in the 80s, and the run started at the Children’s Hospital (now Humphrey Hall). At the finish line, it was so cool to have my dad and sister with me celebrating.”

The race itself began at 10:15 a.m. for those in wheelchairs followed by a 10:30 a.m. start time for runners. Those who fundraised $100 or more received prizes ranging from a two-for-one Marcus Theatres movie pass to a Door County Eagle Harbor Inn weekend escape for two people.