This Father’s Day, June 17th, in the Seaport District, The McCourt Foundation is partnering with sportswear giant Reebok in hosting an inaugural Waterfront Fitness Festival & Expo. It already looks like there’ll be a strong #Southie showing at this family-friendly event. Local restaurant Roza Lyons has been coordinating a team for the 5K: they already have 20 participants from the area, and owner Rob Fitzharris says they expect a good deal more.
“I’ve supported the McCourt Foundation since the mid-2000s. I ran the marathon for them in 2010 and in 2017,” he said. “We’d love for more people to register. We have participants of all ages—people in their 50s and 60s will be on our team.”
There’s already strong interest in the fitness festival. With over 400 signups for the 5K run/walk and youth races already (which include a half-mile race for 12 year olds and younger, and a 100 meter dash for kids eight and under), there’s no question the event will produce a large number of participants. The 5K course includes almost a mile of dock running along Boston harbor. The expo’s open to friends, family, and supporters of the racers.
Reebok is hosting three athletic events near their flagship Seaport store and global headquarters: power yoga, crossfit, and Les Mills BodyATTACK led by renowned presenter Nikki Schultz. Classes aren’t full, and participants can sign up for the events through the 5K registration website. They’re also hosting interactive fitness challenges at their popup store.
As a part of the festival, McCourt has put in place an optional fundraising opportunity. If a participant choses to fundraise and sets up their page, after they receive one donation of any size they’ll receive a coupon for 40% off their 2018 purchase at the Reebok waterfront store. If a participant raises more than $500, they’ll receive a performance top shoe of their choice, and those who raise more than $1,000 receive one pair of shoes of their choice.
Adult participants who take part get two free beer tickets for the Harpoon beer garden. The famous Fenway “Sausage Guy” will be grilling sausages, and slushes and ice cream will be available for the kids. Local favorite country band Dalton & the Sheriffs will perform later in the morning.
The expo includes local McCourt Foundation partners: the South Boston Collaborative, South Boston Neighborhood House, Namastay Sober, Youth Enrichment Services (YES), and Mass General Department of Neurology. Each will have tables with information and activities like face painting, balloon animals, and other projects. Suffolk Cares will have a mobile fitness trailer, and EMD Serono will provide free health checks.
“The foundation already has a strong Boston connection, and we saw a real value in partnering with other likeminded organizations and embracing cross-collaboration. This was a perfect opportunity to take that approach and apply it to more grassroots organizations to show support of city,” said Kelsey Trout, manager of events and marketing at the McCourt Foundation.
Brian McCourt is founder of the foundation and a longtime Southie resident with his brother Peter. His family has direct experience with the toll of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s, and the foundation focuses on research for and awareness of neurological diseases. “This is a community event, much like South Boston,” he says. “We’re thinking about family and the community: there’s something there for everyone.”
The McCourts have been fundraising for 27 years. The foundation puts on various events, including the bike ride/walk/run Tour de South Shore (initially on Cape Cod, now in Hingham) and their Education Update with free access to research and information to the public. Their partnership with Brigham and Women’s and Mass General has helped the researchers pioneer drug and treatment research in conditions like MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS.
“We want people to come out and make strides with us,” says McCourt.