Race to Beat Cancer 2021: Race Virtually to Help Save Lives
Summer is upon us, and it’s time to get ready for the Race to Beat Cancer, our popular race event supporting life-saving cancer research!
Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, last year’s 40th anniversary virtual racing event was a great success—and, in 2021, the Four Seasons Hotel and MedStar Washington Hospital Center will once again team up to host a virtual race with some exciting new features.
Racing During a Pandemic
MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Washington Cancer Institute have proudly partnered with the Four Seasons for the past 21 years of the Race to Beat Cancer. During that time, energetic participants and generous donors and sponsors have raised over $2.5 million to help fund critical research initiatives here in Washington, D.C.
Suddenly faced with the COVID-19 pandemic last year, we made the choice to take the Race virtual, and Race activities didn’t miss a beat! In fact, the virtual racing event brought us participants not just from across the U.S., but from locations as diverse as Puerto Rico, Mexico, Germany, and Uganda.
Seeing our participants commit to the Race under such unique circumstances was truly inspiring. Despite the early-day challenges of the pandemic, the 2020 virtual Race helped raise $400,000 for critical cancer research in our community. Our goal for this year’s virtual event is to exceed a half-million dollars in funds raised, and the majority of these funds will be directed to advances in cancer treatment.
Many of us feel the impact of cancer personally or through the experience of loved ones. The Race to Beat Cancer 2021 is your chance to help fight back and bring vital funds to important cancer research in our area. #BeatCancer https://bit.ly/3hYLloy via @MedStarWHC @harveyg3
Some Race Details
Here are some important things to know about this year’s virtual Race:
- We continue to offer a choice of distances for runners and walkers! Choose a one-mile, 5K, or 10K option, whatever distance you favor.
- By popular demand, we’ve added a 50-mile cycling category this year and welcome our cycling enthusiasts to join the effort.
- All participants have the one-week period from September 25 through October 1 to complete and log their miles. Participants can do the race more than once if they want, and can then pick their best time to enter into the race website. Winners will be announced on October 2.
- Those who post Race results have the chance to win a prize. Participants who raise at least $100 will receive an official Race t-shirt.
- If running, walking, or cycling are not your thing, you can support the cause by donating directly.
Funding for Research in Minority Care
Cancer in general is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., and, sadly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict it will soon overtake heart disease as the leading cause. Another unfortunate fact: the incidence of cancer in the Washington, D.C. area ranks fifth-highest in the nation. During 2021, 3,450 new cases and over 1,000 cancer deaths are expected here.
According to Dr. Christopher Gallagher, our Medical Director of Cancer Services, we diagnose and treat more than 2,000 new cancer patients each year and manage more than 80,000 outpatient visits for cancer screening, treatment, and survivors’ care.
Also noteworthy, more than 300 patients are enrolled in 35 clinical trials at the Washington Cancer Institute; 56 percent of those participants represent minority populations. We’re proud to say that the Washington Cancer Institute is a national leader in minority cancer care and scientific discovery.
The Race to Beat Cancer is an essential lifeline to provide much-needed funds in support of this research. Most of our trials are pilot studies committed to the unique needs of our D.C. community—specialized research not typically given the same level of attention and funding by other institutions. For example, we are:
- Studying the risk of cardiovascular disease in breast cancer survivors.
- Improving existing hair-loss prevention technology to provide better options for African Americans undergoing chemotherapy.
- Innovating ways to predict possible long-term effects of early-stage cancers.
Race Prep Tips
Whether you plan to participate in the Race to Beat Cancer individually or as part of a team, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Be sure to print your race bib from our race website.
- Wearing your race bib, choose a safe place to run, walk, or bike during the one-week racing period, September 25–October 1.
- Or, if you prefer, get your miles on a treadmill or stationary bike.
- Report your results to our website. If you like, use MapMyRun, Strava, or any other free app, or your GPS watch, to map your course and time yourself. In virtual racing, results are based on the honor system, of course.
Don’t like to race alone? Consider forming a team! Teams are always a fun part of any race event, and a virtual race is no different. Team Green—myself, my wife, and my two daughters—will once again participate this year. Dr. Gallagher’s team returns as well, joining a number of other teams from the MedStar Health family and our local community.
Share Your Story, Volunteer, or Be a Sponsor
Although a virtual race doesn’t require as much assistance from a volunteer staff as a live race event, there’s still work to be done pre-race. Email us for potential opportunities to help.
And, as always, we very much appreciate any extra support or promotion of the Race or your own racing activity. Photos and videos really help drive enthusiasm for a virtual race, so please share your story on social media to help spread the word:
Sponsorship, of course, is also critical to reaching our $500,000 goal. If you, your business, or your organization would like to become a Race sponsor, you’re invited to review our detailed sponsor package on the Race to Beat Cancer sponsorship page and contact Philanthropy Officer Jennifer Abramson via that page for more information.
See You “at” the Race!
The Race to Beat Cancer is a true win-win for the Washington, D.C. area. It’s good for our bodies and mental well-being and fosters our community’s commitment to overcoming this deadly disease.
Without a doubt, we all look forward to the day when we’ll return to the physical event, with its excitement, high-fives, and camaraderie. But with your help, I know our 2021 virtual race will be even bigger and better than last year’s. We look forward to your participation and to seeing your Race photos and videos.
So mark your calendar and start training!