There's a reason why people were wearing puffy winter coats and fuzzy hats for the thrilling announcement.

Community leaders, members of the press and politicians all crowded together at Mastrovito Hyundai in Yorkville to get a better idea of what America’s Greatest Heart run & Walk will look like next year.

Celebrating 50 years

It's the 50th anniversary of the beloved community event and community leaders are hoping to raise at least $750,000 to help fund more research and medical breakthroughs, as well as train those on how to administer CPR.

WIBX/Megan Stone
WIBX/Megan Stone
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The community event was inspired in 1971 when legendary WIBX personality Ralph Allinger died of a heart attack. The annual tradition took shape in 1974 when a group of runners sprinted from Barneveld to the old WIBX studio building in Clark Mills.

Read More: 40th Annual WIBX Slocum Dixon Heart Radiothon

The event has grown tremendously since then and, currently, is helping to fund three major research projects in the Mohawk Valley.

Now with their 50th year fast approaching, officials have turned to tradition in order to properly celebrate this important cause.

Back to the Way Things Were...

The major announcement came from Frank Mastrovito, corporate chair of America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk.

Gesturing to the committee suddenly putting on heavy winter jackets, he revealed it was meant to "give you a clue about the date of the event!"

We're going back to the way things were, and for the 50th anniversary of America's Greatest Heart Walk & Run, the Walk & Run will be on March 2!

Mastrovito also announced the event will return to its "traditional location" and will be held at Utica University where participants will once again have to face the infamous "Heartbreak Hill."

WIBX/Megan Stone
WIBX/Megan Stone
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The crowd erupted in cheers at the welcome news.

The event usually took place in March at the university, but the event was moved to Accelerate Sports in Whitestown and took place in early May this year.

The decision came a year after the fundraiser was forced to go virtual in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More: Big Changes for 2023 Heart Run And Walk

Now, committee members are ready to return to their roots and open up a brand new chapter in their advocacy.

Said Mastrovito:

We’re bringing tradition back to life by returning to a time that was always known as Heart Weekend, the first weekend in March. And we’re going back to a place that thousands are familiar with as the home of the Heart Run & Walk, Utica University.

 

Todd Pfannestiel, PhD, president of the university, was also excited to welcome the event back onto his campus.

He said, "The mission of the American Heart Association means better health for all of us, and we can’t think of a better way to start to wrap up winter than by hosting this great event."

Other Changes

Of course the Run & Walk isn't the only event taking place that day.

Committee members also revealed the WIBX Heart Radiothon, which will once again be sponsored by Slocum-Dickson, will take place on March 1 and March 2. Of course, the infamous Treadmill Challenge will also be up and running.

It should also be noted this event is said to be the longest-running Heart Radiothon in the country.

WIBX/Megan Stone
WIBX/Megan Stone
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Also to help raise funds will be the Heart Telethon on WKTV, sponsored by GPO Federal Credit Union. The fundraiser will take place starting at 8 in the morning on March 1 and end at 11 a.m. on March 2.

Steve Gassner has returned as the director of America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk and expressed his excitement to see the massive event return to its roots just in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary:

The progress that the American Heart Association has made in the past 50 years means that more of our family members and friends have lived longer and happier lives,” Gassner said. “We are looking to recruit more committee members to help us celebrate this significant event in our community, and help launch the next 50 years of lifesaving work of the American Heart Association.

Also at the event, the finalists in the competition for the 50th anniversary logo design were revealed. Voting is underway now.

WIBX/Megan Stone
WIBX/Megan Stone
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For those seeking more information about America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk, to be a corporate sponsor, or to register and begin building teams, visit UticaHeartRunWalk.org or email heartofutica@heart.org or visit HERE.

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