Video: Inaugural Cellucci tribute race draws huge crowd, supports ALS research at UMMS

By Lisa M. Larson and Erin Ramirez

UMass Medical School Communications

August 04, 2014

More than 1,000 runners and walkers participated in the inaugural Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race in Hudson on Saturday, Aug. 2, in honor of the late Paul Cellucci’s commitment to fund ALS research at UMass Medical School and his lifelong dedication to public service. The race, which ran through Paul Cellucci’s historic hometown, benefited the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund, launched by the former governor to fund research into a cure after he was diagnosed with the disease.

“What’s important is that 20 minutes from our home is one of the world’s foremost ALS researchers with an extraordinary team,” said Jan Cellucci, race organizer and the governor’s widow, referring to UMass Medical School’s Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MD, who was the late Gov. Cellucci’s physician. “That team has the ability to take breakthrough opportunities and go in so many different directions. There is an extraordinary amount of excellence at UMass Medical School and we need to support their work.”

The goal of the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund is to establish an endowment to seed the boldest research ideas in the interdisciplinary laboratories at UMMS under the direction of Dr. Brown, the Leo P. and Theresa M. LaChance Chair in Medical Research and chair and professor of neurology, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease). Cellucci died in June 2013 from complications of ALS. He was 65.

Jan Cellucci said she, her daughters, Kate Cellucci and Anne Cellucci Adams, and the entire race committee were thrilled by the large turnout. She noted the event served as a “rallying point” for the many participants who were supporting a loved one with ALS or remembering someone lost to the disease.

Gov. Deval Patrick welcomed runners at the starting line. Former Gov. William Weld and several former colleagues of Gov. Cellucci ran the race. Jan and Paul Cellucci’s four grandchildren, Rhys, Francesca and Lucia Adams and Gabriel Westberg, also attended, as well as many other family members and close friends.

For complete race results, visit the Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race website. To learn more about the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund, visit the fund website. For more photos from the event, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/umassmedicalschool/

  • Minutes before the start of the inaugural Paul Cellucci Tribute Road Race, members of the Cellucci family pose for a photo.
  • UMass Medical School Chair and Professor of Neurology Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MD, the late Gov. Cellucci's doctor, is interviewed by New England Cable News prior to the start of the Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race.
  • Luke Walker, 28, of Somerville, winner of the Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race, crosses the finish line.
  • Jackie Slocombe, 36, of Somerville, is the first woman to finish the race.
  • Anne Cellucci Adams, left, and Kate Cellucci, daughters of Jan Cellucci and the late Gov. Paul Cellucci, are ready to run the inaugural Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race.
  • Karin and Joe Casey, of Atkinson, N.H., pose for a photo prior to the start of the Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race.
  • Hudson High School Girls track & field coach Spencer Fortwengler and his team pose for a photo before running the Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race.
  • The track & field squads from Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School gather together before running the Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race in Hudson.
  • Kate Cellucci crosses the finish line and is congratulated by Spencer Fortwengler, coach of the Hudson High School girls track & field team.
  • Frannie Weld, daughter of former Gov. William Weld, and Anne Adams, daughter of the late Gov. Paul Cellucci, are jubilant at the finish.
  • Karyn Polito greets Rhys Adams, Gov. Cellucci's 7-year-old grandson, at the finish line.
  • Gov. Cellucci's grandchildren, Rhys and Francesca Adams, and Gabriel Westberg, celebrate with runners at the finish line.
  • Former Gov. William Weld and daughter Mary Weld finish the race.
  • Lawrence Hayward, MD, PhD, professor of neurology at UMMS, crosses the finish line at the Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race.
  • Brayden Huban of Clinton shows off his medal for taking part in the inaugural Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race.
  • Julie Bowditch, left, and Sarah Pelletier, employees at UMass Medical School, are ready to run the Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race, supporting the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund.
  • Hunter Drake (282), of Hudson, and Amy Wiswell (990), of Townsend, are among the hundreds of runners off at the starting line.