5,000 Runners Rally to Support Children’s Mercy Kansas City at Rock the Parkway Race
5,000 Runners Rally to Support Children’s Mercy Kansas City at Rock the Parkway Race
04/08/2023 3 minute read

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The 14th annual Burns & McDonnell Rock the Parkway Half Marathon and 5K gathered 5,000 runners to race along scenic Ward Parkway and rally around Children’s Mercy Kansas City. The race draws participants who hope to show their appreciation for staff and resources at the hospital where one in three kids in the Kansas City community visits each year.

“No father wants to watch his child struggle for every heartbeat and breath,” says Eric Linebarger, associate architect at Burns & McDonnell who is fundraising for the race to support Children’s Mercy on behalf of his daughter, Whitney, who was born at 25 weeks and weighing just 1 pound, 12 ounces. “Since her tiny start, Whitney received ongoing care from Children’s Mercy, including being diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 11 months old, and more recently, epilepsy. From the neurology team to the behavior pediatricians to the sports rehab doctors who focus on physical therapy and muscle tone, the Children’s Mercy team is an integral part of our family and they all play a huge role in Whitney’s story.”

This is the sixth year Burns & McDonnell and KC Running Company have designated Children’s Mercy as the race’s beneficiary. The city’s premier children’s hospital provides care for children from every county in Missouri and Kansas as well as all 50 states and 16 countries, with almost 600,000 patient visits each year. The hospital relies on philanthropic giving and community support to fund its services.

“Every year, it’s a privilege to see our patients’ loved ones and others in the community show up to Rock the Parkway to support Children’s Mercy,” says Jenea Oliver, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief development officer at Children’s Mercy. “We’re committed to ensuring every child has access to the best care possible regardless of a family’s ability to pay. With the support of our community, Children’s Mercy provided nearly $120 million of uncompensated care in 2021.” 

More than 83,000 runners have participated in Rock the Parkway since 2010 and have voted it as a best racecourse in Kansas City. The course takes runners along historic and scenic homes lining Ward Parkway and ends at the post-race plaza featuring live music and some of Kansas City’s favorite restaurant vendors. In addition to funds raised through individual racers on behalf of Rock the Parkway beneficiaries, Burns & McDonnell and KC Running Company have donated more than $400,000 combined to Rock the Parkway beneficiaries in Kansas City, including Children’s Mercy, Girls on the Run and Science City at Union Station.

“Rock the Parkway is an opportunity for people to come together to demonstrate their commitment to a vibrant, healthy community,” says Julee Koncak, director of the Burns & McDonnell Foundation. “From the race participants to the volunteers and on-site medical providers to the Children’s Mercy team, it’s a privilege for Burns & McDonnell to partner with KC Running Company to host an event for so many people in Kansas City who are dedicated to health and wellness.”

To promote race safety, police were stationed throughout the race to monitor traffic. Drivers were allowed to cross the route during the race, but were asked to yield to runners on the course. Volunteers also helped coordinate parking and directions to the start/finish line.

To learn more about Burns & McDonnell Rock the Parkway and how to participate in future races, visit rocktheparkway.com.

About Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies bringing together an unmatched team of more than 13,500 engineers, construction and craft professionals, architects, planners, technologists and scientists to design and build our critical infrastructure. With an integrated construction and design mindset, we offer full-service capabilities. Founded in 1898 and working from 70 offices globally, Burns & McDonnell is 100% employee-owned. Learn how we are designed to build.

About KC Running Company

KC Running Company is the Midwest’s largest race management company, working with charitable organizations on more than 100 running events each year and producing more than a dozen company-owned running events in the Kansas City area. Rock the Parkway is its largest event and the largest half-marathon in the area.

About Children’s Mercy Kansas City

Founded in 1897, Children’s Mercy is a leading independent children’s health organization dedicated to holistic care, translational research, educating caregivers and breakthrough innovation to create a world of well-being for all children. With not-for-profit hospitals in Missouri and Kansas, and numerous specialty clinics in both states, Children’s Mercy provides the highest level of care for children from birth through age of 21. U.S. News & World Report has repeatedly ranked Children’s Mercy as one of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.” Thanks to generous philanthropic and volunteer support, Children’s Mercy provides hope, comfort and the prospect of brighter tomorrows to every children who passes through its doors. Visit Children’s Mercy to learn more, and follow on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for the latest news and videos.

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