For runners (or aspiring runners) who hope to combat global injustices while running, the following annual runs against global poverty are an easy way to combine physical and humanitarian passions. Some occur across the United States, while others are international, bringing together participants thousands of miles apart. Starting with a race in which runners run with the recipients of their donations, this list concludes with an extremely long race for those who don’t want to train for one. Here are seven annual races against global poverty.
7 Annual Races Against Global Poverty
- In Kinyarwanda, “Komera” means “be strong, have courage.” The organization by this name sponsors female scholars in Rwanda, paying for their full tuition and school expenses, and provides them a community of support and sport as a form of development. Every June, Komera hosts a fun run in Rwanda in support of empowerment and education for girls. This event is mirrored in Boston and San Francisco on the same day, as well as any other locations where people choose to individually host.
- The Aga Khan Foundation is a humanitarian aid organization that works in more than 30 countries in both Africa and Asia. Its initiatives cover integrated development, civil society, early child development, access to electricity and economic inclusion. Not only do they have countless walks and runs across the country throughout the year, but also host golf tournaments.
- The global Christian humanitarian organization World Vision has been tackling poverty and injustice, especially affecting children, since 1950. They now help more than 3.5 million children in almost 100 countries. Their mission includes social and spiritual transformation of communities through public awareness campaigns, as well as emergency relief. Their Global 6K for Water occurs annually on May 4 in nearly every state (with almost 100 runs in California alone). Proceeds go to providing clean water to those who don’t have it; according to the organization, “every step you take is one they won’t have to.”
- RACE for the Orphans stands for “Raising Awareness Compassion and Education” about what orphans around the world need. Each run raises money in the form of grants for American families to help them afford adopting international orphans. RACE for the Orphans hopes to reduce the staggering number of orphans in the world (more than 150 million). Starting in 2013, the annual race in Georgia backs new adoptive families the first Saturday of May.
- Concern Worldwide is a humanitarian organization that works with people across the globe living in extreme poverty. This annual four mile run in New York City started in the 1990s to raise money for programs ranging from development work to emergency response. Dara Burke, the organization’s Vice President for Individual Giving & Events, told The Borgen Project that hundreds of “people from all walks of life show up” each year on a Saturday in April to deliver “tangible hope” to Haiti and other recipients of the run’s proceeds.
- Hundreds of people in Illinois participate in the annual 5K walk/run for education to support Food for the Poor and Hope for Haitians in May. Food for the Poor combats issues ranging from malnutrition to lack of medical care in 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Their partner, Hope for Haitians, focuses on building houses and establishing clean water sources while establishing community self-sufficiency through education programs particularly in Haiti.
- Knowing that it’s difficult to change one’s daily schedule to run a 5K, the American Foundation for Children with AIDS designed a virtual, collective “walk,” called #30000Miles, reaching the capitals of all countries in mainland Africa. The walk starts on September 1 and ends once the participants have reached 30,000 miles. The proceeds help the organization support HIV positive children and their families in four countries in Africa, providing medical and educational support, as well as emergency relief and livelihood programs.
These annual races against global poverty are in the United States, but there are countless races around the world. They are all a great way to combine fitness and poverty reduction and runners can raise much more for the organization by pushing themselves in their fundraising.
– Daria Locher