Miami Beach – Serena Williams joined more than two thousand avid running enthusiasts from South Florida and around the country for the first annual Serena Williams Ultimate RUN South Beach on Sunday, December 14th. Serena took part in her first Quarter Marathon (6.55 miles), among hundreds of other aspiring athletes who also participated in the 5K Run/Walk and Team Challenge – bringing together runners of all ages and abilities. The event was to raise money for the Serena Williams Fund, which provides assistance to families affected by violent crimes and providing underprivileged youth around the world with the highest quality of education available to them. Serena’s sister, Venus Williams, also gave her support by running the 5K.
Serena commented after participating in the Quarter Marathon, and crossing the finish line in a time of 1 hour 14 minutes: “Today’s run was so enjoyable and the spirit of everyone who came out was so passionate which helped me to build the energy I needed for my first quarter marathon. I’ve never ran that far before, so I had to pace myself, but I was pleased with my finish time. I’d like to thank all the sponsors and everyone who participated in the run to help raise money for underprivileged youth around the world.”
The winning Male and Female in the 5K run both shattered course records and are the fastest times completed in Miami for a 5K run by both a man and a woman over the last two decades. Pablo Solares was the 1st place male winner of the 5K with an official time of 14:40 – a new course record by 45 seconds. Pablo is the Mexican National Record Holder in the Mile, 1500 meters and 800 meters. His fiancé, Shannon Rowbury, was the 1st place female winner of the 5K with an official finish time of 15:58 – a new course record by 1 minute and 30 seconds. Shannon is a U.S Olympic middle distance runner and U.S record holder in the 2 mile and is also a member of the Nike Oregon Project. Canadian Olympic distance runner for Nike Oregon Project, Cam Levins, was the 1st place male winner of the Quarter Marathon with an official finish time of 30:46 – a new course record by 5 minutes. Aimee Nielsen, from Miami, was the 1st place female winner of the Quarter Marathon with an official finish time of 40:41.
The world famous Ocean Drive was closed to traffic for the Ultimate Run’s scenic start and finish lines. The course took runners through Miami’s renowned South Beach scene, a major entertainment and tourist destination known for its picturesque beauty, Art Deco buildings, nightlife, restaurants and iconic hotels. The legendary American track coach and retired long-distance runner, Alberto Salazar, was on-hand to fire the starting gun as a tribute to the commencement of the first annual Serena Williams Ultimate Run. Event sponsors including Nike, Gatorade, Delta, Beats by Dre and MISSION Athletecare took part in creating a memorable experience for all participants.
“Our inaugural Serena Williams Ultimate Run was quite a memorable event,” says Marc Wachter, the event’s executive producer. “Runners of all ages and abilities were very excited to come out in their thousands on a very early and crisp Miami December morning to run alongside Serena for a great cause. We are thrilled to have had such an iconic athlete behind the first in our Ultimate Run series and Serena’s enthusiasm really gave every participant the Ultimate experience. We look forward to making this one of Miami’s most popular sporting occasions on South Florida’s annual event calendar.”
Open to runners of all ages, registrants of the Ultimate RUN received a premium Nike tech, gender-specific Serena Williams Ultimate Run t-shirt and custom artisan finisher medal and official finisher certificate with chip-timed result. Runners experienced recovery refreshments, post-race entertainment and a most memorable experience along one of the most famous beachfront locations in the world. A medal and Nike t-shirt was presented for the Ultimate KIDS Dash, participated in by children ages 2-10 years-old, during which Serena and Venus cheered the smallest runners to the finish.
For post-race celebrations, participants of the run, along with the Williams sisters, headed over to The Clevelander South Beach on Ocean Drive, where hundreds witnessed Serena and Venus join their other two sisters on-stage to perform karaoke to favorites that included “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge. Prior to the sister’s much-loved karaoke performance was the event’s award ceremony, during which Serena presented the winners and runners-up with trophies for their triumphant accomplishments.
“We are thrilled that a significant portion of proceeds resulting from the Serena Williams Ultimate Run will go towards the Serena Williams Fund, which provides assistance to families affected by violent crimes and providing underprivileged youth around the world with the highest quality of education available to them,” said Michael Rose, Managing Partner of Rose Capital Advisors in Miami Beach and Board Member of the Serena Williams Fund. For further information, visit www.theserenawilliamsfoundation.org.
The Serena Williams Ultimate Run was sponsored by Nike, Gatorade, beats by dr. dre, Delta Airlines, MISSION Athletecare, Merchant Hub, Whole Foods Market, Douglas Elliman, Rose Capital and Ocean Drive Magazine and The Clevelander South Beach.
ABOUT THE SERENA WILLIAMS ULTIMATE RUN
The Serena Williams Ultimate Run is a one-day annual event starting on the iconic Ocean Drive in South Beach that unites thousands of avid running enthusiasts of all ages and abilities in support of the Serena Williams Fund. Co-created by founders Michael Rose of Rose Capital Advisors, Marc Wachter, Executive Producer and Serena Williams, participants can register to enter a Quarter Marathon (6.55 miles), 5K Run/Walk or Ultimate KIDS Dash for a chance to run alongside Serena Williams herself and some of today’s leading athletes who come together for a worthy cause. A significant portion of proceeds resulting from the event benefit the SerenaWilliams Fund which provides assistance to families affected by violent crimes and providing underprivileged youth around the world with the highest quality of education available to them. For further information, visit www.TheUltimateRun.com
ABOUT THE SERENA WILLIAMS FUND
The Serena Williams Fund was established to achieve two goals. The first is to provide assistance to youth whose parents and families have been affected by violent crimes. The Fund will do this by funding and creating programs that will provide counseling, care (foster care and day care), housing, food, and education to youth who have been affected by violent crimes throughout the United States. The Fund’s second goal is to assist underprivileged youth around the world in receiving the highest quality education available to them. The Serena Williams Fund has achieved and will continue to work toward this goal by providing grants and scholarships to deserving high school students around the world. This work includes the two schools currently operating in Kenya that Serena opened in 2009 and 2010 respectively. These grants and scholarships will aid the students in attending college, learning a trade, or learning how they can start their own business so that they can better themselves and the world as a whole. For further information, visit www.theserenawilliamsfoundation.org