WNBA star and ESPN basketball analyst Kara Lawson has announced that she will again run the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K to honor her former coach, Pat Summitt.
The race, in its second year, will be run on November 3, the day before the ING New York City Marathon, and will end at the Marathon finish line in Central Park. Registration is now open; for more information, click here.
Summitt, 60, who retired in April as head coach of the University of Tennessee’s women’s basketball team, is battling early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. In 38 years of leading Tennessee, Summitt won 1,098 games—more than any other coach, male or female, in college basketball history—and led her team to eight NCAA titles. Lawson was an All-American point guard for the Lady Vols, playing for Summitt from 1999 to 2003, before joining the WNBA and earning an Olympic gold medal for USA Basketball in 2008. She now plays for the Connecticut Sun.
Her husband, Damien Barling, will also run the ING New York City Marathon again as part of the fundraising team. Last year, Barling completed the race in 4:46:54. Together, the pair helped raise almost $18,000 for Alzheimer’s education, research, and patient support.
“Last year’s campaign to run NYC and raise money in honor of Coach Summitt was so successful we knew we had to do it again,” Lawson said in a statement.
“I will be cheering for Kara and her team to have a great race,” added Summitt.
This year, the team will be raising money for The Pat Summitt Foundation, a fund of the East Tennessee Foundation. Lawson is also donating $50 for every three-point basket she makes this season, a sum that is being matched by the Connecticut Sun Foundation, the Mohegan tribe (the Sun plays its games at the Mohegan Sun entertainment complex), and Sally Jenkins, who has written two books on the legendary coach. Jenkins, who also ran last year’s NYRR Dash to the Finish Line, plans to again be on the starting line.
As of Tuesday, Lawson had sunk 40 three-pointers, putting her in a three-way tie for fourth in the league.
Photo: Pat Summitt
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg