Katie Couric to be Celebrity Grand Marshal of the Sixth Annual Race of Hope in Southampton


After going virtual during the pandemic, the Race of Hope makes bright return to Southampton Village. The Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF) is pleased to announce that iconic journalist Katie Couric will be the celebrity Grand Marshal of its Sixth Annual Race of Hope on Sunday, August 8, 2021 in Southampton Village.  The Race is an annual summer tradition that mobilizes hundreds of participants to raise awareness and funds for mental health research. HDRF Founding Chair Audrey Gruss and Arthur Dunnam, both Hamptons residents, will join Couric as Co-Grand Marshals of the 2021 Race.

“We’re thrilled to be able to gather in person again for this special day, especially with Katie Couric, whose warm smile is known across the world,” said Audrey Gruss.  “Humans are wired to need warm social interaction.  The isolation of the pandemic has taken a large toll on the nation’s mental health.”

Gruss noted surveys showing that over one third of Americans are struggling with depression and anxiety in the wake of the pandemic.  She said: “As a society we are just beginning to identify the impact of the past 16 months.  Understanding and developing treatments for these mental disorders is therefore critically important, and that is what this Race makes possible.”

Couric, Gruss and Dunnam will lead participants on a beautiful 5K (3.1 mile) loop around Lake Agawam in Southampton Village.  The Race is open to all ages and speeds and walkers are welcome.  The event has grown quickly over the years, with 750 participants in 2019.  However, in 2020 the Race went virtual due to COVID restrictions and did not come to Southampton.

This year’s in person event marks a careful return to “more-normal,” with specific measures such as staggered heats and required masks at the starting line to keep everybody safe.  Organizers expect hundreds of participants, up to a maximum allowance of 500, per New York State guidelines.  The Race of Hope has raised over $1 million for research since its inception in 2016.

 Importantly, the Race of Hope this year will still offer a virtual component for the thousands of racers who have embraced the cause and want to participate but live far away.  They still have the option to sign up and complete the distance in their own hometowns.  These racers can share their stories and cheer each other through a special interactive live program broadcast by HDRF over social media on the morning of the actual Race.

In-Person Registration Information:

  • Go online to www.raceofhopeseries.comand register for a fee of $35 through July 12th (the price increases to $40 after this date).
  • Each participant will receive an ultra-lightweight vest, hat, race shirt, mask and finisher medal.  (While supplies last.  Gear is distributed on a first come first served basis)
  • Meeting Point: The Cultural Center, 25 Pond Lane, Southampton, NY
  • Date: Sunday, August 8, 2021
  • Time: Check-in begins at 7:15amand the Race of Hope begins at 8:30am SHARP.

Virtual Registration Information:

  • Go online to www.raceofhopeseries.comand register for a fee of $35 through July 12th (the price increases to $40 after this date).
  • Participants choose their own trail and receive special Race gear in the mail (while supplies last).  They can walk or run the distance on their own time and in their own hometowns.
  • The special live broadcast made especially for their virtual racers will begin on Sunday, August 8, 2021 at 8 AM.   The broadcast will be hosted by HDRF’s Race Director and Executive Director.  They will welcome viewers, show messages of hope from participants across the country, and then blow the starting gun at 8:30 am ET.   Any racers who want to complete their courses at the exact same time as the actual race in Southampton can do so with the live broadcast!

5K Race of Hope Committee:

Lisa M. Aery,  Kelly Ashton & Carlo B Sant Albano, Felice & Shelley Bergman, William Secord & Bruce Bierman, Jill Blanchard, Serena Bowman, Janna Bullock, Lili Cavendish, Julie & Mike Connors, Ide & David Dangoor, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Roy Cohen & Arthur Dunnam, Lisa & Sandy Ehrenkranz, Marjorie & Alexander P. Federbush, Bambi & Roger Felberbaum, Ambassador David and Jennifer Fischer, Frances Fisher, Bill Ford, Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Ford, Mary Ann Fribourg, Clo D. Giffen, Judith S. Giuliani, Barbara & Alan Glatt, Mrs. Darcy Gould, Jamee & Peter Gregory, Mrs. John (Susan) Gutfreund, Mayme & Montague Hackett Jr., Candy  Hamm, Mai Hallingby Harrison, Kim Heirston, Yaz & Valentin Hernández

Tania & Brian Higgins, Elizabeth & Edgar Howard, Mario Nievera & Travis Howe, Nicki Harris & J. Ira, Benigna Kirsten, Kontes Family, Judy & Leonard Lauder, Mr. & Mrs. Richard Mack, Ann & Cameron MacRae, Isabella & J. Paul Meyer, Susan & Joe Meyer, Muffy & Donald Miller, Mary P. Moran, Lucia N. Musso, Margo & James Nederlander, Anne S. Nordeman, Jane & Richard Novick, Francesca Stanfill Nye, Pamela Pantzer, Jenny & John Paulson, Robin Pickett, Kathy Prounis, Michael Donnell & Thomas C.  Quick, Joanna Roland, Hilary Geary Ross, Frances G. Scaife, Barbara & Randall Smith, Scott Snyder, Ginny & David Sydorick, Debbie & Jack Thomas, Susan Warner, Lynne Wheat, Victoria Wyman, Clelia & Tom Zacharias, Richard Ziegelasch and Silvia Zoullas


5K Race of Hope Sponsors:

Down to Earth, Impala Asset Management, Jacob Antilety Landscaping, Livingston Builders, Liquid I.V., Sant Ambroeus, Scott’s Protein Balls, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, Wirebox, Wölffer Estate Vineyard

Photography via Hope for Depression Website

— Emmy Sammons