Milwaukee’s annual Briggs and Al’s Run and Walk for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin took place Saturday morning, with thousands of participants joining to raise money for the hospital. Thousands of runners, wheelchair racers and walkers gathered along Wisconsin Avenue to enjoy live music, including a Marquette band performance at West Towne Square, before the race began at the starting line on 12th Street and Wisconsin Avenue. The finish line was located at the Summerfest grounds.
Tiffany Cvikota, special events coordinator at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, said she loves working at the event because she interacts with patients’ families and gets to see all the children smiling and having a good time. This was her seventh year working at the run.
“Last year, we had a little over 13,000 participants,” Cvikota said. “I think we were trying to get around 14,000 today, and we’re probably close to that because when it’s nice outside, we usually get around 800 to 1,000 walk-ups. ”
Buzz Williams, Marquette men’s basketball coach, spoke at the starting line with his team before participants started their eight-kilometer run, five-mile walk or three-mile walk.
“Every time I come here, and this is my sixth time here, I’m amazed by the legacy – 36 years, $14 million raised, and so many amazing lives that have been impacted,” Williams said. “Today is about helping Children’s Hospital throughout the year.”
Members of the basketball team gave high-fives to the runners as they began the run.
Cvikota said this event is important and special to Marquette’s campus because of its history with Al McGuire, former Marquette men’s basketball coach, he started the run for the kids of the Children’s Hospital, and because the hospital used to be located on Wisconsin Avenue.
“That’s why it’s so important for us to continue partnering with Marquette,” Cvikota said. “There’s such a rich history.”
Shannon Duffy, a freshman in the College of Engineering, ran the eight-kilometer route with the Marquette Running Club. She said she first heard about Briggs and Al’s Run and Walk by joining the club and was interested in supporting the cause.
“I think (the run) is exciting for Marquette students because it’s giving back to a really good cause,” Duffy said. “A lot of people here like to give back and do service, so it’s really in the spirit of Marquette.”
Duffy said many Marquette students volunteered at water stations and check-in tables during the run.
“Volunteers at the water station at the end started chanting the ‘We are Marquette’ cheer as we crossed the finish line, so that was really fun,” she said.
Cvikota said that run is one of the two main annual fundraisers that Children’s Hospital holds.
“Both raise over one million dollars for the hospital,” Cvikota said, “so it’s crucial that we continue it because kids deserve the best, and that’s what Children’s Hospital is about.”
Special to the Tribune