About 4,000 runners took part Sunday in the fifth annual Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium to raise money for cancer research. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
Forget cleats. Running shoes were in order at Yankee Stadium Sunday, as some 4,000 people took to the famous field. Their goal? Strike out cancer by taking part in the annual Damon Runyon 5K.
"It's just an amazing experience to be in Yankee Stadium. I'm a huge Yankee fan as well," said one participant. "And just to support cancer research in general, because it's affected a lot of other members of my family as well."
Right from the start, the runners were warned this would not be their fastest race. The route takes in the whole stadium, looping around the concourses and up and down stairs.
"Different," said one participant. "A lot of stairs. I wasn't expecting stairs. But it was fun. Really cool to run on the field."
That's certainly the highlight. Runners made two full laps around the warning track, seeing themselves on the Jumbotron along the way. It was an exciting experience for fans who are usually cheering from the stands.
"I have not been on the field," said one participant. "They frown upon that."
The crowd was diverse, but most of them had something in common: a loved one who had battled cancer.
"We're running in honor, in memory of my grandmother, who passed away in 2011," said one participant.
"I was really close with her, and so it means a lot to be able to do this for her," said another participant.
"We lost a close friend, 44 years old, just three weeks ago to breast cancer, and the more money we can pour into research, the better," said a third.
This year's event raised more than $700,000, bringing the five-year total for the run to more than $3 million.
"All of the money goes to support the most brilliant young cancer researchers across the country, who are really committed to find the next breakthroughs in cancer," said Lorraine Egan of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.
Researchers like Nicholas Arpaia, who found running alongside survivors and families affected by cancer inspiring.
"It means so much to us to see them, to see the work that we're doing is really benefiting them, and it makes us want to get back into the lab and come up with new therapies, come up with new strategies to approach this disease and really fight it," Arpaia said.
"I really hope this saves a lot more lives and keeps a lot more wonderful people here," said one participant.
For more information, or to make a donation, visit damonrunyon.org.