In The Press - 2014

Serena Williams to Host Road Racing Event in Miami

Following the announcement that tennis star Caroline Wozniacki would be running this November’s New York City Marathon, Serena Williams laughed when a reporter asked if she, too, had aspirations to run 26.2. “I think I could do a half-marathon or I can run with her for the first 5K,” Williams said. “But I am done after that.”

The world’s No. 1–ranked women’s tennis player may not have a Verrazano-Narrows Bridge start in her future, but after running a 5K last fall, Williams was so moved by the positive race-day atmosphere that she decided she wanted to host her own road racing event. That notion has evolved into the Serena Williams Ultimate Run, which will be held on December 14 in Miami.

Williams’ event will include a 5K, a “Quarter Marathon” (6.55 miles), and a kids’ race. Williams, one of Nike’s marquee sponsored athletes, has gotten a commitment from Nike Oregon Project runner and national 5000-meter runner-up Shannon Rowbury to join her in running the 5K. Rowbury will be accompanied by her coach Alberto Salazar, and more elite runners are expected to commit in the coming weeks.

For this event, Williams has teamed up with longtime Miami-based race organizer Marc Wachter. Through his company, Live Ultimate, Wachter has directed races in Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, including an event in May that featured American marathon record holder Ryan Hall running a Quarter Marathon. 

“Our goal is to think of what would make the ‘ultimate run,’” said Wachter. “This isn’t a Color Run or something gimmicky. We want celebrities, world-class athletes, and iconic locations—which for this race we have with Ocean Drive on South Beach. We saw how much runners enjoyed interacting with Ryan Hall in L.A., and we think that now that Serena is behind this and bringing in athletes like the Oregon Project runners it can be even better.”

The USATF-certified 5K and 6.55-mile courses will follow Miami’s Ocean Drive through the South Beach area. Wachter says registrations will be capped at 3,000. Race fees, which range from $20 for the kids’ race to $45, will benefit the Serena Williams Fund, which assists families that have been affected by violent crimes and provides grants and scholarships to underprivileged students around the world. For more information and to register, visit


Serena Williams hopes South Beach charity race draws celebrities, crowds

Serena Williams got teary-eyed at the finish line of the New York Marathon a few weeks ago as she watched Caroline Wozniacki complete the race. The tennis players have become close friends and running enthusiasts. Williams hopes they will run together in South Beach on Dec.14 as she hosts the inaugural Serena Williams Ultimate Run.

The charity event will include The Quarter Marathon (6.55 miles), a 5K Run/Walk and Ultimate KIDS Dash. Proceeds will support the Serena Williams Fund, which provides assistance to families affected by violent crimes and finances two schools in Kenya.

In addition to Wozniacki, Williams’ sister Venus, Andy Murray and other surprise guests are expected to attend.

“It was so exciting to see Caroline finish,” Williams said by phone Wednesday. “It was such a big moment, and I’m an emotional individual. I know she went through a lot this year — we both did.”

Top-ranked Williams is ready to put the 2014 tennis season behind her. Her sole Grand Slam title of the year was the U.S. Open, which she won over Wozniacki. Williams lost in the Round of 32 at Wimbledon, Round of 64 at the French Open and Round of 16 in Australia.

“I put so much pressure on getting to [Slam title] No.18 that I kind of panicked a little, got a little tight and stressed out,” she said. “Getting even with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova was a little too much for me to handle. I kept thinking, ‘Is this going to happen? Is it not? Am I always going to be stuck at 17?’ The weight’s been lifted off my chest, and now I can just play free. No.19’s going to be easier.”

Williams got the idea to host a charity run last Thanksgiving, when she ran a 5K in Palm Beach.

“Every year, I do a run for Thanksgiving, the 5K or 10K, to kick-start my training for the year, and last year after running the 5K, I thought, ‘Wow, I really should do my charity based on running because it’s a really fun way to promote a healthy lifestyle.

“People love it. You can run, walk, bring your family, it’s early in the morning. I love karaoke, so at my race, afterward you can go on the beach, relax, have Gatorade and sing karaoke.”

Williams started running 10 years ago to stay in shape for tennis.

“It definitely helps your endurance on the court,” she said. “You feel you can run so many miles, you can last three hours, four hours if you need to. I like running the shorter distances, like 5K. You don’t kill your body, but you can still feel part of the race atmosphere.”

Her foundation has personal meaning to Williams because her sister Yetunde was murdered in 2003, leaving behind small children. She was moved to open the schools in Kenya after watching a video.

“Those kids were bending down using sticks as pencils and dirt as a paper. I was like, ‘Wow, some kids in America have everything and don’t want to learn, and over there they have nothing and they’re doing everything they can to learn.”

Race fees range from $20 for the kids’ race to $45 for adults. For more information and to register, visit


Serena Williams Ready to Wager on a Run with Andy Murray

Tennis - World No. 1 Serena Williams has challenged two-time men's Grand Slam champion Andy Murray to a run and is ready to make a wager on the same.

The two set off a Twitter conversation when Serena, currently in Singapore and now assured of ending the year as World No. 1, sent out a tweet about her Ultimate Run charity event scheduled for December 13. As per the event website, The Serena Williams Ultimate Run South Beach is a prestigious Quarter Marathon and 5KRun/Walk benefiting the Serena Williams Fund.

Murray, who is chasing his own spot in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in two weeks time, replied to Serena saying that he would be there to which Serena then asked him if he would also run at the event and that she was ready to make a wager if she beat him again. (We are not sure what Serena refers to when she says 'AGAIN').

Murray has not responded to her last tweet as of yet.


Serena Williams to host run

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Serena Williams will hold a run on South Beach next month for runners of all ages and abilities to support her foundation.

The foundation assists underprivileged youngsters and those affected by violent crime.

The quarter marathon, 5K run-walk and kids dash on Dec. 14, which will be called The Serena Williams Ultimate Run, will take runners through the popular tourist area. Ocean Drive will be closed to traffic for the start and finish lines. A number of high-profile athletes are expected to participate in the run, which is open to all ages.

Williams won her 18th Grand Slam title at the US Open in September.

Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press


Game. Set. Run!

Tennis sTar and MiaMi local Serena WilliamS serves up The ulTiMaTe run To help kids around The world have beTTer lives.

Game. Set. Run!Most of us in Miami will never get a chance to play tennis with Serena Williams. But this month, we’ll all have the opportunity to run with her. Williams — who just made history with her 18th Grand Slam title after winning the 2014 US Open — will host the Serena Williams Ultimate Run South Beach, a quarter-marathon, 6.55-mile race in which the tennis star will participate along with 3,000 locals and celebrity athletes, including elite runners from the Nike Oregon Project. Proceeds will benefit the Serena Williams Foundation, which is aimed at helping youth all over the world.

The foundation’s efforts are two-fold: First, it provides financial support to kids whose families are affected by violent crimes (Williams’s own half-sister was killed by a gunshot in 2003). The tennis player now raises money for families working to rebuild from tragedy, helping them secure counseling,daycare, housing, food, and education. “It is the hope of the Serena Williams Foundation to continue to [bring about] change in the lives of children who have been negatively affected by violence in the US,” says Williams.

“MiaMi is hoMe to Me, so of course i’M excited to host the event here.” — Serena Williams

The foundation also has helped build schools in Kenya and strives to provide educational opportunities to kids both around the globe and in the United States. Through granting scholarships, it funds the scholastic endeavors of deserving high school students for college, job training, and entrepreneurship.

“Over the past five years, we have helped fund the construction of two schools with a goal to assist underprivileged kids in receiving the highest quality of education available to them,” says the tennis star.

Game. Set. Run!The race’s philanthropic intent drew the involvement of Miami Beach financial advisor Michael Rose, who sits on a variety of high-profile boards and is often credited with orchestrating the kind of partnerships and programs that buoy the South Florida community. Rose—whose charity work has included the Mourning Family Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation—is a frequent consultant to Williams on a variety of projects. After discussing with her the goal of organizing a race that would combine the tennis player’s athletic and altruistic interests, he, along with Marc Wachter, the CEO president of Live Ultimate, got behind her in organizing a union with the race formerly known as the Live Ultimate Run.

“Everyone is doing so much heavy lifting to make this race a success,” says Rose. “I’m a big believer in giving back. I want to give a lot of my time and have a big impact.”

“December is beautiful in Miami, and I thought that it would be a great time to bring everyone out for a great running experience,” says Williams. “I have lived in Florida for the majority of my life. Miami is home to me, so of course I’m excited to host the event here.”

The city’s classic architecture will provide the scenic backdrop—from the Art Deco buildings, chic lounges, and patio cafés to the rippling waves of the Atlantic Ocean and the towering palm trees lining it all. The race itself winds along Ocean Drive, which will be closed to cars for the occasion.

Game. Set. Run!The weekend festivities, however, will touch upon much of Miami Beach, kicking off on Friday with a swanky VIP reception and continuing on Saturday at Nikki Beach, where a fitness expo—open to everyone—will be packed with demonstrations from the top makers of apparel, sporting goods, athletic gear, and sports nutrition products. It concludes on Sunday night with a karaoke event at the Clevelander. “Maybe it’s the nice weather, but everyone is so friendly,” says Williams. “Living in such a beautiful place encourages people to get outside and be active.”

And it would seem that her long list of high-profile sponsors could not agree more. Even from the outset, national brands have lined up to support the event. Nike will be providing runners with high-tech fit shirts, while Gatorade, Delta, Beats by Dre, and Mission Athletecare signed on for the chance to get their names in front of Miami Beach runners both practiced and first timers.

“You don’t have to be a professional runner to participate,” says Williams. “If you are a veteran runner trying to set a personal record, that is great! However, we are encouraging first-time runners to race as well. My goal is to bring out a lot of participants to raise money for the Serena Williams Foundation.” The Serena Williams Ultimate Run South Beach takes place December 14 at 8 am, 1 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 305-538-8899;

Source: Ocean Drive Magazine

Benefiting the Serena Williams Fund.