AACR Philadelphia Marathon Makes a Triumphant Return

AACR Marathon city hall
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) was the title partner for the 2021 Philadelphia Marathon. The marathon, held Sunday, Nov. 21, was the final event of the three-race weekend, following the Rothman 8K and the Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon, which took place Saturday, Nov. 20. In all, 21,000 people registered for the races, representing all 50 states and 38 countries.
AACR marathon crowd
Marathons are always thrilling milestones, the culminating event of months of training. This year’s marathon felt even more special for many runners, as it took place for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. Runners had submitted proof of vaccination and marathon officials had modified many procedures, with fewer than the usual number of runners allowed to register, to accommodate public health rules.
Doug Black marathon
Doug Black, center, crosses the finish line of the Philadelphia Half Marathon. Black raised just over an astounding $65,000 for AACR Runners for Research, a team sponsored by the AACR Foundation that raises funds to help accelerate innovation in cancer science. The entire team, comprised of 285 runners, raised $411,492, including a $50,000 donation from the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson.

AACR Runners for Research is an exciting way to take part in races (in-person or virtual) while raising money for cancer research and gaining peer support from Facebook and Strava groups. We are proud that the AACR directs 88 cents of every dollar raised to support cancer research through grants, fellowships, scientific education, and information for cancer patients and their families. Contact the AACR Runners for Research team at [email protected] if you’d like to join the team or learn more at Runners4Research.org.
survivor marathon
Every runner has a story, and we were humbled by the participation of many cancer survivors. Thanks to advances in the detection and treatment of cancer, more and more people are living with, through, and beyond their disease. Today, there are more than 16.9 million cancer survivors in the United States. The overall five-year survival rate has risen from 49 percent for people diagnosed in the mid-1970s to 70 percent for people diagnosed between 2010 and 2016. Continued funding for biomedical research will pave the way to more progress against cancer and will allow more people to survive their disease.
Yangzi Jiang, 26, came to Philadelphia as a preteen to receive treatment for osteosarcoma. Jiang survived his bout with cancer, but lost his right leg below the knee. He returned to Philadelphia to give back to the cancer research community, raising $1,890 for AACR Runners for Research. Jiang had hoped to complete the race in less than 5 hours, which would allow him to qualify for the paraplegic division of the Boston Marathon. He did it in 4:42:52. Following the race, Jiang told The Philadelphia Inquirer, “I was never in this much pain, but spiritually I feel great.”

AACR marathon Mitch
Mitch Stoller, chief philanthropic officer and vice president for development of the AACR Foundation, was thrilled by the successful race weekend. “We as a collective community, we are cancer’s fiercest opponent,” Stoller said. “Let me say that again, we are cancer’s fiercest opponent. And I mean that because our priority is really to make the lives of cancer patients and their families much better. And we’re going to do that by raising millions of dollars to fund the best research in the world.”
art museum

All photos ©2021 AACR/Vera LaMarche/Whitney Thomas