Sailor Brinkley-Cook and Jack Brinkley-Cook Lead More Than 750 Participants at Fourth Annual Race of Hope to Defeat Depression

Sailor Brinkley Cook, Jack Brinkley Cook at Start Line Credit Jakes VanderWatt for Rob Rich at

Sailor Brinkley Cook, Jack Brinkley Cook at Start Line Credit Jakes VanderWatt for Rob Rich at

More than 750 men, women, and gathered on a sunny Sunday morning in Southampton to take part in Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s (HDRF) fourth annual Race of Hope to Defeat Depression.  

The high-energy crowd set out at 8:30 AM to complete a tree-lined 5K course around Lake Agawam. Race Co-Grand Marshals Sailor Brinkley CookJack Brinkley Cook, HDRF Founder Audrey Gruss, and Board member Arthur Dunnam led the way. The USA Track and Field-sanctioned race raised more than $275,000 for advanced depression research, setting a new record for the event.

Speaking from the steps of the Southampton Cultural Center just before the starting gun, HDRF Founder and Chair Audrey Gruss said, “In the United States, depression is the leading cause of suicide, and affects more than 18-million adults each year. Among teens, depression and suicide rates are the highest on record. We are working to turn the tide on depression and suicide in this country, but we can’t do it without your help, so thank you all for coming out to support the cause today.”

Hope was in abundant supply as everybody sported caps and tech shirts in HDRF’s signature sunshine yellow. The competitive runners, joined by Sailor Brinkley Cook and Jack Brinkley Cook, burst through the starting line, followed by first-time runners, walkers, corporate teams, families, children, and plenty of canine friends.

Following the race, Audrey Gruss and her team presented medals for best times in various age categories. Dan Gargaro won the best time in the Adult Male category, and Tara Farrell won the best time in the Adult Female category. Griffin Schwartz, age 13, won for best youth male (13-15), and Lily Kurmanick, age 13, won for best youth female (13-15). Gruss then presented Arthur Dunnam with an award for Top Fundraising Team, and Scott Snyder with an award for Top Individual Fundraiser. Kim Heirston received the runner up award, and a notable mention highlighting that $10,000 of the funds she had raised had been donated by Oprah Winfrey.

All race participants received a shirt, finisher medal, reflective race hat and a long-sleeve 1/4 zip pullover.  The first, second, and third place winners received cash prizes of up to $500. Successful fundraisers also received prizes for raising upwards of $250 and $1,000.

This year’s Race of Hope once again was the grand finale of the Week of Hope, a village-wide campaign in Southampton to raise mental health awareness.  The Week was launched on Thursday, July 25, at Ralph Lauren. Two hundred local business owners including Brook’s BrothersJ. CrewThe White Company, the Southampton Arts Center, the Southampton Chamber of Commerce, and Southampton Town Hall “turned yellow” by placing two-foot-wide yellow statement balloons (environmentally safe and re-usable) by their front door to symbolize hope and their commitment to changing the staggering statistics around depression.

Additional Race participants included: The Watermill Center’s Robert Wilson, Southampton Hospital’s Steve BernsteinHilary Geary RossMarigay McKee and Bill FordLisa M. AeryJamee and Peter GregoryMartin GrussCampion Platt and his children, Samantha Gregory and Roberto Benabib with their daughter, Carolina Gregory-BenabibSomers FarkasJanna BullockLucia Hwong GordonCarol MackTom and Clelia ZachariasSusan and Joe MeyerSerena BowmanNona Collin and Karen and Richard LeFrak.

The Race of Hope was supported by Southampton residents including Jamee and Peter GregoryKim HeirstonLeonard and Judy LauderMarigay McKee and Bill FordKitty & Bill McKnight IIIThomas C. QuickScott SnyderLisa M. Aery,Serena BowmanSharon BushSusan GutfreundYaz and Valentin HernandezThe Honorable and Mrs. Earle MackMargo M. and James L. NederlanderRobert NederlanderHilary Geary Ross, and Clelia and Tom Zacharias.

The Race of Hope starts the lead-in to HDRF’s 13thAnnual Luncheon Seminar which will be held on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The event will focus on “Depression and Anxiety; Diagnosis and Latest Treatments,” and will salute the research progress of HDRF’s acclaimed team of world-renowned brain researchers.

Photo Credits: Jakes VanderWatt for Rob Rich at 

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