The Amy Thompson Run at 30: A Look Back … 2017 marks the 30th annual Amy Thompson Run for Brain Injury. To celebrate, we’re taking a monthly look back at some of the highlights, people and personalities who make this event a Kansas City-area classic.
Here for Brain Injury from the Very Beginning
It all began with a simple lunch meeting.
Larry Moore is a respected, long-time anchorman for Kansas City’s top-rated newscast on KMBC-TV. Molly Scanlon was a young friend of Amy Thompson, who wanted to pay tribute to her friend by starting a fun run.
Scanlon asked Moore to lunch for the purpose of recruiting the broadcast legend to provide some media muscle and support to the fledgling event. It didn’t take Moore long to decide he wanted to be part of the first-ever Amy Thompson Run.
“If you know Molly, you know she’s a hard person to say no to,” Moore said with a laugh. “But I tell you what, it’s been a great experience and something I look forward to every Memorial Day weekend.”
The first Amy Thompson Race was held in 1988 near the Park Place Hotel in the East Bottoms of Kansas City, near the Truman Sports Complex. About 400 runners gathered to run in the race, and Moore was there bright and early on Memorial Day weekend to count down to the start of the race. “It’s always my favorite part. Standing at the starting line with a bullhorn and counting down ’10, 9, 8, 7 …,” Moore said. “There’s excitement in the air and everyone is ready to get things started.”
Little did he know that from those humble beginnings, the fun run that Moore signed up to help out with would grow into one of Kansas City’s iconic races and Memorial Day traditions: The Amy Thompson Run For Brain Injury.
Since that first event, the run has raised more than $2.1 million for brain injury prevention and survivor services in Kansas and Greater Kansas City. And Moore is proud to tell you that he’s been the Honorary Chairman and Emcee for every single Amy Thompson Run.
In the early 1990s, the event had outgrown its original location and the run committee petitioned the city to move to the neighborhoods surrounding Loose Park. That was a big deal, Moore said, because it made the run more of a family-oriented community event.
“Moving to Loose Park was also great because it honors Amy’s memory by taking place on the same streets she would run,” Moore said. “And as far as I know it is still the only race allowed to be held at Loose Park.”
Moore knows a thing or two about supporting worthy causes. In addition to the Amy Thompson Run, he has also been the driving force for the Dream Factory since 1984, helping make the dreams of more than 5,500 terminally ill children come true. A cancer survivor himself, Moore has worked tirelessly for the American Cancer Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Ozanam Home for Boys and a host of other charities.
But still, the Amy Thompson Run for Brain Injury holds a special place in his heart.
“It’s always a fun family event. What amazes me is that for years and years, we never had a drop of rain during the event. Even some mornings when it looked like we were going to have a tornado, just a few minutes before the start, the sun would somehow always peek through the clouds and we’d be dry for the run.”
Moore says he looks forward to being there at the 30th anniversary Amy Thompson Run, just as has for the last 29 years.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Moore said.
Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City (BIAKS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for those affected by brain injury.
MEMORIAL DAY RUN
The first Memorial Day run was held in 1988 honoring Amy Thompson, a young woman whose courage, forgiveness and will to live gave hope to all affected by brain injury.