J.J. Tighe, CEO of the Michigan Fitness Foundation, said he worked with Verlander, Alisha Greenberg -- the director of Wins for Warriors -- and other sponsors for nearly a year to make the event happen.
"We talked about, 'Why don't we have something here in Detroit, a signature event focused on veterans and focused on our fallen heroes?'" said Tighe, whose organization endorses races across the state.
According to the event's website, the run raised more than $43,000 to help support veterans. Greenberg called the inaugural race a success and said Wins for Warriors hopes to hold a 9K on or near Memorial Day each year.
"I think it went very well," she said, "We'd love to see it grow."
The 9K received attention from Team Red, White and Blue, a non-profit whose mission is to connect veterans through physical activity. Mark Helm was one of several runners who participated through the organization, and he carried a large American flag over his shoulder for the entirety of the course.
"When I heard about [Wins for Warriors], I thought, 'This is phenomenal,'" Helm, a veteran, said. "On Memorial Day, I consider it a privilege [to carry the flag]."
Greg Cooper, a lieutenant colonel in the Michigan Army National Guard, participated in the one-mile loop with a close friend.
"What a great event," Cooper said. "It's just amazing. The outpouring of support now for our veterans versus 20-30 years ago -- we appreciate it."
Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.