Champion bicyclist a top draw for event

900 people expected at Ulman Fund repast featuring Armstrong

October 26, 2007|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,Special to the Sun

So many people wanted to attend a dinner tonight with Lance Armstrong that the event's host, the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, changed the venue.

The cocktail-attire dinner with Armstrong originally was to have been held in the Spear Center ballroom at the General Growth Properties Inc. building in Columbia. Instead, said Brock Yetso, executive director of the Ulman Cancer Fund, the event will be held at a new, empty warehouse in Jessup, which the Ulman fund organizers set up for the occasion.

Changing the venue meant that 900 people could attend, Yetso said, about twice as many as could have fit into the Spear Center.

"It's been a little more work, but I think it will be worth it," he said.

Armstrong is coming to town today to help the Ulman fund celebrate its 10th anniversary. The fund's founder, Doug Ulman, brother of County Executive Ken Ulman, is president of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which provides information, inspiration and support to people with cancer.

Like Armstrong, Doug Ulman is a cancer survivor. He started the fund to help young people who have cancer and is a member of the organization's board.

The event marks the first time that Armstrong has come to Howard County to support the organization, though he has helped it through donations and through alliances with the foundation.

Besides the dinner, the anniversary celebrations include bicycle and running events scheduled for tomorrow morning, rain or shine. Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France champion and the world's most famous bicyclist, will skip the two bicycle rides and run in the 5K race, said Yetso.

The first bike ride, which starts at 8 a.m., will be a metric century, or 63 miles, said Yetso. The second, which starts at 8:15 a.m., is 20 miles. The 5K run will start at 8:30 a.m., and a one-mile fun run will start at 9:30 a.m.

All events will start and finish at Merriweather Post Pavilion. There also will be a health expo, live music and other activities at Merriweather, he said.

Yetso said about 1,000 people have signed up for the athletic events, and that the number will increase tomorrow, when same-day registration will be offered starting at 6:30 a.m.

The dinner and races, known collectively as 10 The Event, were announced in May. About two months ago, said Yetso, "after looking at sales and ticket requests," the organization decided to look for a larger venue for the dinner.

"We wanted to keep it in the county," he said.

Tickets for 10 The Dinner, which are no longer available, cost $175 for those 36 or older and $125 for younger adults. The event will start with a cocktail reception at 6:45 p.m.

Yetso said 10 The Event has surpassed the Ulman fund's goal of raising $300,000.

Sponsors including Princeton Sports, the Columbia Foundation and Howard County General Hospital have donated thousands of dollars. Three companies - Alms & Associates Inc., Kaiser Permanente and the Williamsburg Group - donated $25,000 each.

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