The best one ever! the 8th annual Running of the Gnomes, an in-game charity event to benefit the Cleveland Clinic’s research to cure breast cancer. Last night 7000 gnomes ran in packs across the Eastern Kingdoms, from the gnome starting zone to Booty Bay on the continent’s southern tip. A recent count shows that the event raised an astounding $16,000. And it’s not too late to donate.
I’ve been a gnome runner three times before, always fun, but never as meaningful as this time: my daughter-in-law was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and began chemo just last week. I was far from alone in feeling I had to do it, that I wanted to do it. During the run, I saw chat messages from other runners whose family members or friends were battling or had died from breast cancer.
Getting 7000 players to do one thing is an amazing feat. Kudos to the organizers! Also hats off to World of Warcraft for making the run an official event this year on its in-game calendar, for offering a quest (running through 34 checkered gates), and for decorating with path markers and cheering crowds of NPC gnomes along the way. Fun!
On reaching the roof near the Booty Bay flight master, the runners were exuberant. All kinds of toys were pulled out, from rainbows and fireworks to fel effects and smoke bombs. In that mess, as festive as it was, there was no way we were going to arrange ourselves in the traditional heart. Someone suggested we make a heart in the water, which a number of us did.
All in all, an extraordinary event! Again, I offer my congratulations to the organizers. And I’m grateful to the thousands of the players who came to show their support for breast cancer research.
Photo info: Gnomes at the starting gate; example of checkered gate and of purple circular path markers; heart that pink-haired gnomes made in the bay of Booty Bay; and an excited gnome NPC advertising the event in Dalaran (below).