On your marks, get set, go! Now in its 13th year, The Steve Olsen Run for Rogosin returns to Hudson River Park this Sunday. It is a fundraiser for kidney research and a cherished Hell’s Kitchen community gathering – founded by West Bank Cafe’s and W42ST’s own “Hell’s Hero” Steve Olsen.
“It was all Steve’s heart and vision,” said Tanya Cintron, Special Events Manager for The Rogosin Institute, a New York-based center for kidney treatment and research. “Steve is an avid runner and he received his kidney transplant treatment from Rogosin. He was so grateful for the transplant that he wanted to give back – and what better than combining that with what he loves?”
Steve was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease in his mid 20s and has survived both renal failure and Stage 3 Melanoma. After receiving a kidney transplant in 2007, and missing his regular running schedule of 40 miles a week, Steve vowed to jog a “5K next May”.
“The following year, 2008, I started a running team called Running Without Kidneys. I got 12 of us together, and we went down to the Hudson River Park and ran a 5K, raising $8,000 for the Rogosin Institute. The second year, we had 30 runners and it was closer to $15,000,” Steve told W42ST in 2020.
While the race initially began and ended inside the West Bank Cafe, it eventually outgrew the space and the organization moved to Pier 84, where they now host a large-scale kickoff and finish line celebration complete with a stage for awards.
Community enthusiasm for the event remained strong even during the COVID-19 lockdown, said Tanya. “We were really concerned when COVID hit, but we have some amazing and consistent supporters who participated in our virtual event.” It was so successful that the team decided to keep an extended virtual option going forward to include eager participants from outside the Tri-State area.
This year, the race has already surpassed its $100,000 goal of funds raised – and over the 13 years it has garnered over $1.3 million in donations for kidney disease care and research. Fundraising has helped to support renovations at The Rogosin Institute’s flagship Upper East Side location, where work has started on a new, state-of-the-art home dialysis facility.
Continued support for the institute is still close to Steve’s heart. “I was fortunate enough to find The Rogosin Institute,” he said. “Anything that needs to be addressed, Rogosin is there for me 100 percent. It’s a wonderful institute and I consider you all very close friends.”
The race has over 80 staffers, and they’re excited about seeing familiar faces and welcoming new runners into the Rogosin family. “We’re looking forward to having that energy in-person,” said Tanya. “We have people that come up with their whole families. There are even puppies that come out, some people run with their dogs!”
She added, “There’s nothing like being face to face – and it’s our yearly opportunity to bring together all the aspects of our community in one day.”
The Steve Olsen Run for Rogosin starts at 8am on Sunday August 14 at Pier 84 (555 12th Avenue at W44th Street). The event will be held rain or shine!