MADD’s 5K run/walk will end on 50-yard line at new Mercedes-Benz Stadium

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MADD’s 5K run/walk will end on 50-yard line at new Mercedes-Benz Stadium

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HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
August 15, 2017 Atlanta - Field view from 200 level during a tour of Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Tuesday, August 15, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Talk about your win-win situation.

Participants in the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Stadium 5K/Walk Like MADD on Sept. 30 won’t just be supporting a worthy cause -- 100 percent of the proceeds go to Mothers Against Drunk Driving Georgia for its efforts to raise awareness of and eliminate drunk driving.

They may also briefly mistake themselves for Matty Ice or Miguel Almiron as the race route ends smack inside the spectacular new home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC.

“They’ll run through the players’ tunnel and their image is going to be captured on the Halo Board,” said MADD Georgia executive director Debbie Day, referring to the 63,800-square-foot screen -- the largest video board in U.S. pro sports -- which surrounds the opening of the stadium’s retractable roof. “And they’re going to end up on the 50-yard line.”

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The Falcons will open up the stadium with a preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.

It’s more evidence of the strong bond between MADD and the Falcons, who’ve come together along with Atlanta United and the Atlanta Track Club to organize this ninth annual 5K/Walk Like MADD fundraiser.

Arthur and Angela Blank at a 2015 MLS Atlanta event in Atlanta. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for MLS Atlanta). This year marks Angela Blank’s third time co-chairing the 5k/Walk Like MADD fundraiser that this year ends up in a big way inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Paras Griffin

Co-chairing the event for the third straight year is Angela Blank, wife of Falcons and Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank, and a longtime, in-the-trenches volunteer and advocate for MADD Georgia. (Read more about Angela Blank’s life and work here).

“The whole organization has just been wonderful to us,” said Day of MADD Georgia, whose partnership with the Falcons has been singled out by the NFL for its effectiveness.

Participation rose by an eyepopping 600 percent for last year’s 5K/Walk, the first one MADD and the Falcons joined forces on. Considering the Falcons are coming off a Super Bowl season and he intense public interest in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the sky may be the limit where MADD’s concerned.

“We have prepared for a record breaking crowd,” Day said. “We’d love to grow by 600 percent again this year.”

With a fundraising goal of $300,000, registration fees range from $10 to $30. The early morning event features something for pretty much everyone: A 5K and one mile fun run (you can walk both, too). Plus, a 50-meter dash on the stadium field for kids 6 and younger. That one will be led by the biggest kid of  them all, Freddie Falcon.

For more information or to register, visit www.walklikemadd.org, www.atlantafalcons.com, www.atlantatrackclub.org  

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