AFCA held its third annual Run For Their Lives 5K on June 14. One of the things I find rewarding as the event coordinator is that I am recognizing names and faces of runners that have been to our race in prior years. I hope that means that people enjoy participating in this event as much as I enjoy organizing it. Several people showed up wearing shirts from last year’s event, something that thrills me to no end. I recently saw someone in the grocery store wearing a Run For Their Lives 5K shirt, and I felt like an artist watching someone hang up and enjoy my painting. Maybe not the best analogy, but nonetheless, it made my day.
We had a good mix of new and familiar faces, all ranges of abilities from speed demons to walkers, and an age range of 8-71. Everyone is welcome at our race. Some runners pushed their children in strollers. I am proud of the fact that our race has developed into a family affair. We had many parents and children participate in the 5K and the 1 mile Fun Run. The overall winner was an 18 year old local boy who has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to benefit AFCA. (So for all you runners reading this, consider climbing Kili to boost your lung capacity and endurance!)
There is one more aspect of our race that sets us apart from other races: our kilometer markers. I receive positive comments about them every year. We mark each kilometer with a sign. On each sign is a photo of a child or children that receives aid from AFCA, in the form of life-saving medicine, medical supplies, school fees, or livestock. These faces are why we hold this fund raiser. These faces are why AFCA exists. These faces are why we do what we do. And these faces encourage our runners to press onward, one more kilometer. These faces will benefit from the registration fees for the race. This race is not just about running, but about helping these faces. These faces have a long race to run, a marathon. And our little race can help them finish their race. That’s what the Run For Their Lives 5K is all about.