Sportscaster Rich Eisen’s ‘Run Rich Run’ Event Raises Millions for St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital

In 2005, NFL Network sportscaster Rich Eisen and former Dever Broncos running back Terrell Davis were sitting in the stands of the RCA Dome in Indianapolis waiting for the NFL scouting combine to begin. In a fit of boredom, Eisen said out loud “I could run the 40-yard dash right now.” Davis scoffed at the idea, which only motivated Eisen to take up the challenge.

Dressed in a suit and tie, Eisen would take the field and run the dash, thinking nothing of it. Little did he know the cameras were rolling, and that night, his run would air on the NFL Network to thousands of viewers.

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“[I was in] complete shock, but it was all in good fun,” recalls Eisen. “That’s the best part about doing a broadcast with a family. It’s just like any group of friends where you’re always ripe for being made fun of.”

This marked the first instance of what eventually became “Run Rich Run,” an annual charity event where Eisen collects donations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by running the 40-yard dash in a suit and tie, encouraging donors to share videos of them doing the same. This year was Eisen’s 20th run and 10th year running for St. Jude. “Run Rich Run” has since raised over $7 million for the beloved charity founded by the late star and TV mogul Danny Thomas.

“I don’t know why I thought of it. I don’t know why I said it out loud to my friend Terrell Davis. I’m just thankful he laughed at it because it made me want to do it more,” Eisen says.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary, former NFL running back Todd Gurley, former NFL tackle Andrew Whitworth and Jim Harbaugh, newly hired coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, joined Eisen at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. for this year’s run on April 21. Notable donors included Paul Rudd, Kevin Costner, Jon Hamm and Larry David, who also appeared in videos wishing Eisen luck during the “Run Rich Run” broadcast.

“You’re such a good man…and so willing to embarrass yourself in front of professional athletes,” Costner jokes in offering his support.

“I can’t believe you’ve done this for this long,” Hamm says in his video. “Mostly because I think one of the more disturbing things anyone can see in the modern world is a full-grown man over the age of 50 sprinting.”

Although Eisen is teased for his slow times, he is more than willing to take the heat if it means raising money for children facing terminal illnesses.

“Listen, the key is two things, get through in one piece and raise as much money [as possible] for St. Jude. And not in that order,” Eisen says.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital covers 100% of expenses for families of children with cancer and works to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric diseases through research and treatment. Donations are accepted year-round through the St. Jude website.

(Pictured: Rich Eisen, center, at the Rose Bowl in April)

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