Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Runners Mix Baseball, 5k in a Sandy Fundraiser

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Runners Mix Baseball, 5k in a Sandy Fundraiser

Article excerpt

Sung Kim planned to spend Saturday jogging around an abandoned airstrip getting doused in day-glo paint. To Kim, this sounded like great fun.

Two days before the race, though, Kim learned from a television ad during a Mets game that instead of running past people hurling paint, he could raise money for victims of Superstorm Sandy while running past aging baseball stars.

Kim's plans changed just like that.

"Sandy was the first big storm that affected me," said the 29- year-old sales manager from Hackensack. He skipped "The Color Run," a paint-soaked 5K race at Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field, to place 33rd in a crowd of thousands at the All-Star 5K Fun Run.

The event was held Saturday morning in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, as part of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game weekend festivities.

"Besides, I'm a huge Mets fan," Kim said.

The All-Star run raised money for the Robin Hood Foundation, which will donate the proceeds to groups in New Jersey and around the region that help victims recover from Sandy. The run also benefited the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.

In addition to many runners from New Jersey, the run attracted baseball legends who have experienced natural disasters firsthand.

"Being from Florida and going through so many hurricanes, I know what it's like," said Dwight Gooden. The former Mets and Yankees pitcher, three-time World Series champ and four-time All-Star stood by the starting line on Saturday and posed for cellphone pictures with fans.

"I just want to do whatever I can to help families rebuild their lives," Gooden said.

Barry Lyons, a catcher on the 1986 Mets World Series team, lost his home and his baseball training academy in Biloxi, Miss., to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. His brother committed suicide three months after the storm, Lyons said, and coping with the storm's aftereffects pushed Lyons deeper into alcoholism before he turned his life around in recent years. Lyons received significant support after the storm from the Baseball Assistance Team, a non-profit group that helps former players and their families through crises. …

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