The All-Star-themed downtown course for the 5K race and 1-mile Fun Run also were announced on Friday as All-Star Week opened. The 5K route begins at the Sprint Center on Grand Boulevard, the city's main ceremonial roadway, before circling historic Union Station. Racers will finish in the Power and Light District. See the course map at allstargame.com
"The All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run provides fans with a unique way to be part of the All-Star festivities while raising awareness and funds for an important cause that effects every person," said Tim Brosnan, MLB executive vice president, business. "Because of the event's popularity and success in the past, MLB is excited to bring it back in 2012 for the great baseball fans in Kansas City."
The 5K is an officially timed event. Immediately following, at 8 a.m. CT, the family-friendly 1-mile Fun Run will begin. All registered finishers will receive a commemorative All-Star medal and T-shirt.
Cook's return for All-Star Week participation is a homecoming; he was a Royals employee in the Stadium Club in Kauffman Stadium before reaching "Idol" and recording fame.
Alison Sweeney also is an award-winning actress on "Days of our Lives." She will run in the event and will help begin the event and cheer on participants at the start line as a Stand Up To Cancer ambassador.
Previous ASG 5K events have been in St. Louis (2009) and Anaheim ('10). The event was not held last year due to heat in Phoenix.
"We continue to work with Major League Baseball on the activities that will make up All-Star Week 2012, and we are excited to announce the first of many events, the All-Star Charity 5K & Fun Run," said Kevin Uhlich, the Royals' vice president of business. "The 5K and Fun Run will be great for downtown Kansas City, a fun experience for the participants and a terrific help to the recipients of the money raised."
The ASG 5K records are held by Zac Freudenburg for men (15:21 in 2009) and Vivien Wadeck (17:49 in '10) for women. Wadeck was the top female finisher in each of the first two events, but she said she will be in Portugal during this one, so there will be a new female winner. The inaugural 5K in St. Louis drew 8,000 runners, and the second one in Anaheim had a field of more than 9,000.
"It's good to hear they are bringing it back," Wadeck said. "It's for a great cause, so it makes it more special. It's great, because [the dignitaries] all get up and talk and people share the different stories about why they are there. It's not just another race, like, 'Hey, the gun goes off.'"
In 2012, participants also have the opportunity for the first time to register and create their own "All-Star" profile page online, which highlights their favorite league and MLB club, includes a personal photo, and allows them to share their story. Participants have the opportunity to earn All-Star-themed online badges as they recruit friends to join their ASG 5K roster and raise funds for Prostate Cancer Foundation, Stand Up To Cancer, and Komen. Two All-Star MVP badges will be awarded on Sunday to the top recruiter and fundraiser.
"Stand Up To Cancer is proud to once again partner with Major League Baseball for the 2012 All- Star Game Charity 5K and Fun Run," said SU2C co-founder Rusty Robertson. "When the first 5K and Fun Run event was launched in St. Louis three years ago, we gained tremendous support from fans and saw that cancer truly does touch everyone. With the extraordinary ongoing support of Major League Baseball, we are able to continue our mission of accelerated cancer research to save lives now."
"The Prostate Cancer Foundation looks forward to the MLB All-Star program each year, and the 5K event has become an important tradition," said Dave Perron, vice president of baseball and sports enterprise at the Prostate Cancer Foundation. "We are extremely grateful to MLB for its dedication to raising crucial funds and awareness for cancer research, and we look forward to another successful partnership built around the All-Star Game and its varied activities."
"All of us at Susan G. Komen for the Cure are so thrilled for the continued support from Major League Baseball," said Carli Good, development and marketing director for Komen. "The dollars raised from the All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run will be used support Komen Kansas City's community grant program that funds breast cancer treatment, education and screening in our local area. The awareness and funds raised by Major League Baseball enables Susan G. Komen to help families around the world in our promise to end breast cancer forever."
Additional sponsors of the event include Aquafina, Bayer Advanced Aspirin, Gatorade, One A Day and Scotts. The University of Kansas Hospital is the official healthcare provider for the 2012 MLB All-Star Week and will be providing medical and first aid care for this event.
The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 7:30 ET/6:30 CT. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.