We get a little worked up each December about the White Rock Marathon. Many love the tradition while others resent the day of street closures and cow bells.

Love it or hate it, the $1 million contribution made a few days ago to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is, in my book, indisputable evidence that this thing is worthwhile.

Last year, when the marathon brought in a mere half-mil (I jest), I wrote about my personal connection to the race and hospital. This year, neighborhood kid Garrett Woodbury was a patient champion and his parents ran the marathon in his honor.

Last year’s numbers were exciting, but this is mind blowing.

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Phil Baker, DWRM chairman; Marcus Grunewald, DWRM race director; Bob Walker, TSRHC president and CEO

Last week the Dallas White Rock Marathon board of directors presented the $1 million check to the hospital, making the total amount donated by the race to the TSRH since 1997 $2.8 million.

“We are thrilled to fulfill our pledge of donating $1 million to Texas Scottish Rite, a hospital that does so much amazing work empowering young people in this community and beyond,” says Kevin Snyder, chairman of the DWRM board of directors. “As support for our race continues to grow, our goal is to continue supporting Texas Scottish Rite as our primary beneficiary with significant donations each year.”

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Race director, Lake Highlands resident Marcus Grunewald credits the runners, sponsors and volunteers.

Phil Baker, DWRM chairman; Chuck Dannis, 2012 Victory Award recipient

“Our participants are truly supportive of this race and our beneficiary, and for that, we thank them,” says Grunewald. “As a runner, having the patients and families come out to support the event provides a huge source of motivation. They are the reason donations of this size are possible.”

“In addition to our runners, the record-breaking success of the 2011 event would not have been possible without the help of our board, sponsors and volunteers.”

Past DWRM chairman Phil Baker presided over the awards ceremony alongside Walker. In addition to awarding the $1 million donation, the marathon board presented the Victory Award for Excellence to East Dallas resident Chuck Dannis. Runner Ed Jackson received the Spirit Award.

Mark Bateman, (TSRHC), Marcus Grunewald, Phil Baker, Jerry Gilmore (TSRHC), Natalie Hudson, (TSRHC patient champion), Bob Walker, (TSRHC president and CEO) and Garret Woodbury

The Victory Award honors a member of the running community for demonstrating the value of physical fitness and having a positive effect on health and fitness through outstanding effort, determination, commitment and courage. Dannis served as DWRM chairman from 2005 through 2008 and is credited with many of the race’s innovations including the High School Relay Challenge. He now serves as chairman emeritus of the race.

If you’d like to get involved — run, sponsor or volunteer — in next year’s marathon, half marathon or relay, look for opportunities this summer. Registration opens June 1 and the race is expected to sell out.