By Colin Foster
TROY — People can choose to stay at home on New Year’s Day, being lazy, eating food and watching college football bowl games.
Or … they can do something positive for themselves that will also help others.
The World Race for Hope 5K race in Troy will be held Jan. 1, 2014. The race aims to raise awareness to the slavery that still exists in the United States 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and even the trafficking of human beings that takes place in the Dayton area.
A portion of the proceeds from the race will go to Oasis House, which will open a safe house in Dayton for women who are trying to escape from the sex industry. There are a host of other organizations the race proceeds benefit — including at-risk children in Costa Rica, through an organization called El Refugio, the Somaly Mam Foundation, along with continuing support to other local and global anti-trafficking initiatives.
“Human trafficking is a big problem in Ohio,” said Brett Bogan, a 1990 Troy High School graduate, who serves as co-director of the race along with Cynde Sroufe, a fellow runner and math teacher at Northwestern. ” A lot of people think it just happens in third-world countries, but it’s happening in the Dayton area.”
The World Race for Hope originally started to help support the renovation of First Place Christian Center following a fire in 2006. In 2011, the focus of the race shifted over to issues of injustice that affect the bottom two-thirds of the world’s population.
Eventually, the World Race for Hope expanded to other cities outside of Troy. In 2012, races were held in Columbus and New York City, sites that are host cities for the race once again this year. Bogan said they are working to add a race to Toledo in the upcoming year.
In 2012, the race in Troy had roughly 300 participants, but that number was cut in half last year due to Winter Storm Euclid sweeping across the midwest.
“The race has been (successful),” Bogan said. “Last year was a little challenging with the blizzard coming right after Christmas. The conditions were less than ideal. But somebody went through and plowed the bike path right before New Year’s Eve and we were able to get everything going. Overall, it has been successful.”
The race is backed by First United Methodist Church, with additional participation from Up and Running, Erica Sara Designs and Erwin Chrysler Jeep.
The seventh edition of the race will start at 10 a.m. People can register online at http://raceforhope.kintera.org through Dec. 31 or in person during the early packet pickup at Up and Running, 12 S. Market St. in Troy on Dec. 31 from 2-4 p.m. Same day registration is available at First Place Christian Center, 16 W. Franklin St., from 8:30-9:55 a.m.
If people wish to volunteer, they can do so by submitting something through the website or by emailing Bogan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Runners or walkers are welcome,” Bogan said. “We have some people come out who run a lot of 5K’s in the area. Some are competitive and others are just trying to come out and support the cause. It’s an opportunity to start off the new year right and help someone in the process.”