TROY — In raising money and awareness to help end human trafficking, the 11th annual World Race for Hope challenges people to do something good by lacing up their running shoes.
Held New Year’s Day in Troy, the 5K race that began as a fundraiser for Troy First United Methodist Church eventually shifted focus to social justice and human trafficking awareness, Free to Run Foundation co-founder Brett Bogan said.
The race begins at 10 a.m. First Place Christian Center, 16 W. Franklin St., Troy.
The event asks runners to take a stand against modern-day slavery. Proceeds from the event will go to the Free to Run Foundation’s charity partners Abolition Ohio and Oasis House.
“It’s an issue everyone should be aware of. Just by the act of doing the race, they’re helping to make a difference,” he said. “The more we can get people engaged in this movement, the more that we can empower people to advocate, then we could see real change.”
Bogan and his friend and fellow runner Miami East teacher Cynde Sroufe founded the non-profit Free to Run Foundation in 2012. The organization plans annual 5K races in Troy and Columbus to raise funds and awareness for groups working to end human-trafficking.
“We see Free to Run Foundation as more an awareness and advocacy education non-profit,” Bogan explained. The organization provides support for groups in the Dayton and Columbus areas, like Abolition Ohio and Oasis House that provide shelter and resources for victims of human trafficking.
Abolition Ohio is the Miami Valley’s Rescue and Restore Coalition (which uses an organizational model that was created by the Department of Health and Human Services). Oasis House provides services to women who have been trafficked or abused, including housing, professional counseling and employment help.
Current forecasts predict single-digit temperatures for Monday, making it one of the coldest events in race history. Organizers are concerned about the temperature, but the event is set to continue as planned. Bogan advised bundling up before heading out the door.
“It’s likely going to keep our attendance down, which is unfortunate, but we can’t control the weather,” he added. “If you dress in layers, it’s bearable.”
If the idea of running outside in single-digit temperatures is too much for some, anyone can run a virtual race during the month of January. A virtual race can be run or walked anytime, anywhere, and works on an “honor system,” Bogan said.
“They might want to take their 5K indoors on New Year’s Day,” he said.
Those who elect to run the virtual 5K can still buy a race shirt, which still raises money for Free to Run Foundation’s partner charities.
Online registration is available until the end of the day New Year’s Eve at www.runsignup.com/Race/OH/Troy/WorldRaceforHopeTroy. Runners can also register before the race Monday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. at First Place.
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