Summer showers did not dampen the cheer as over 200 men, women, children, and a few canine friends gathered at the starting line of the Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s (HDRF) second annual Walk of Hope + 5K Run to Defeat Depression on Saturday, August 5 in Southampton.
Despite the rain, the high-energy crowd – which included Robert Wilson and American Ballet Theater dancers Melanie Hamrick and Jose Sebastian – donned plastic ponchos and set out at 9AM to complete a beautiful 5K course around Lake Agawam. The USA Track and Field-sanctioned event raised over $140,000 for advanced depression research.
Speaking from the steps of the Cultural Center just before the starting gun, HDRF Founder and Chair Audrey Gruss said “Depression is the number one cause of disability worldwide. All of you here today are helping to address a major global health issue.”
Southampton Village Mayor Mark Irving also helped kick-off the event with Gruss. “The Walk of Hope has gathered the community to raise awareness that depression is a real medical condition,” he said. Gruss added that 50% of patients do not respond to existing medications, making brain research critical to find new and better treatments for depression.
Hope was in abundant supply as everybody sported caps and t-shirts in HDRF’s signature color of sunshine yellow. The competitive runners burst through the starting line first, following R. Couri Hay who led the race in his 1965 Mercedes Convertible pace car. Performance artist Miles Greenberg paired his yellow t-shirt with black leather, knee-high boots with four-inch heels.
Following the race, Audrey Gruss presented Ashley Gilbertson best time in the Adult Male category, and Tara Farrell for best time in the Adult Female category. Ian Fox won for the best youth male, and Caroline Clagne won for best youth female. Gruss also presented Kim Heirston-Evans with the Top Individual Fundraiser award, and Arthur Dunnam with the Top Fundraising Team Captain award.
Other participants included Paola Bacchini; John Barman; Elizabeth Belfer; Southampton Hospital’s Steve Bernstein; Janna Bullock; Cornelia Ercklentz; Somers Farkas; Lex Federbush; Jamee and Peter Gregory; Samantha Gregory and Roberto Benabib with their daughter, Carolina Gregory-Benabib; Martin Gruss; Susan Gutfreund; Mai Hallingby Harris; Lucia Hwong Gordon; Dr. Jonathan Javitch; Susan and Joseph Meyer; Campion Platt and his three children; Arnie Rosenshein; Nicholas Varney; Susan Warner; and Clelia and Tom Zacharias.
The Walk of Hope + 5K Run starts the lead-in to the 11th Annual Luncheon Seminar held in November 2017, which will honor Ashley Judd for speaking out about depression and salute the achievements of HDRF and its acclaimed Depression Task Force of world-renowned neuroscientists.