It was a perfect fall morning – sunny and 62 – for the second annual Penn 5K for the IOA and Memory Mile Walk on September 22, 2013. Nearly 300 walkers and runners, ranging from 3 years old to 90 years old, turned out some fast times on the new race course through Penn Park, with skyline views of Center City.
“Despite cuts in federal research support, we have a responsibility to continue age-related research as baby boomers head towards retirement and seniors are living well into their 90s and 100s,” said race organizer P.J. Brennan, MD, chief medical officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and an Institute on Aging advisory board member. “Exercise is important as we age. We could prevent 10,000 cases of Alzheimer’s in Pennsylvania alone if 10 percent of the population reduced hypertension, diabetes, obesity, inactivity, smoking, and depression.”
This year’s winning times came from runners with a variety of Penn and Penn Medicine connections. The overall top male, Eric Chappelle, who works in the gene therapy lab of Jim Wilson, finished in 18:57. The overall top female, Zandra Walton, is a third year Perelman School of Medicine MD/PhD candidate in her first year of graduate work focusing on cancer biology. Zandra, whose grandmother died of Alzheimer’s disease, won the female category last year, and turned in a time of 20:17 this year.
Other top finishers in the age groups came from Penn Medicine’s Anesthesia department, the Penn Memory Center, Penn Nursing, the Penn Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, the Clinical Effectiveness and Quality Improvement department, the department of Medicine, a Penn Neurosurgery traumatic brain injury survivor, and undergraduates from the University’s College of Arts and Sciences, Liberal and Professional Studies, and Wharton School. A recent addition to Penn Medicine family, Richard Donze from the Chester County Hospital and Health System, the newest member of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, also placed in his age group.
5K race results are available online through Pretzel City Sports, and photos are available from Daniel Burke Photography.
All proceeds from the event help further research at the IOA for the treatment and care of patients with Alzheimer’s, neurodegenerative and other age-related diseases. Last year’s race proceeds went to the Pilot Research Grant Program, to support researchers entering the field and to stimulate multi-disciplinary projects exploring new directions in the field of aging.
The day wouldn’t have been possible without a cadre of volunteers and supporters, who ensured the race went off without a hitch.
Institute on Aging director John Trojanowski, MD, PhD, concluded the morning by thanking participants, volunteers, organizers and supporters for raising important funds to continue research on age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.