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Posted: December 5, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Running: Inaugural Mass Dash to benefit the Jimmy Fund

Two day non-stop relay across Massachusetts set for July 17th and 18th, 2010

BOSTON -- This July, hundreds of runners will take part in the first annual Mass Dash, a 200-mile non-stop relay from the Berkshires to Boston to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. Presented by Title Partners Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and Kittredge Equipment, along with Race Partners and Friends of the Mass Dash, the Mass Dash will take place Saturday and Sunday, July 17th and 18th, 2010. Proceeds will benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

On Saturday morning, teams comprising of six to 36 people will line up at the base of Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts, and race to Boston Harbor. Conceived as a two-day team adventure race with a very significant purpose, the Mass Dash will bring together hundreds of runners, sharing their time, their thoughts and themselves, while racing across Massachusetts. These runners are all dedicated to raising awareness and funds to support family, friends and neighbors in the fight against cancer.

The relay was established in memory of Neal Webber, a Longmeadow resident who was diagnosed with prostate cancer prostate in 2004. Webber, who was treated at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, fought a hard battle, but succumbed to the disease in 2008. Webber was an outstanding athlete and was a standout soccer player in college at Dartmouth. He was an avid runner and completed sub 3 hour marathons.

Race Director Bruce Leshine was a long time of friend of Webber's, and came up with the idea of the Mass Dash back in 2007. "While running our fifth relay race, I came up with the idea to create our own race to raise cancer awareness,"says Leshine. "The first person I talked to about that idea was Neal. I asked him what he thought, and he said, 'Let's do it'."

The scenic course will start at the Mount Greylock State Reservation in Lanesboro and finish at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. UMass-Amherst will serve as the halfway point and the runners will cross the Winsor Dam at the Quabbin Reservoir in the middle of the night. A post-race party will be held on the lawn at UMass-Boston overlooking Boston Harbor.
"This relay will take courage, endurance and passion. Mass Dash participants will take on this challenge to support those who face a difficult journey themselves,"says Dana-Farber Marathon and Running Programs Director Jan Ross. "We applaud these athletes who strive to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients."

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ( is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States. It is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. It is the top ranked cancer center in New England, according to U.S. News & World Report, and one of the largest recipients among independent hospitals of National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health grant funding.

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