Race #19 – Relief Run for Australia’s Wildfires

Race #19: Relief Run 5K

The Cause: The Australian Red Cross, aiding people affected by devastating wildfires in Australia. As of now, wildfires have claimed the lives of 28 people, destroyed thousands of homes and more than 27 million acres, and killed up to a billion animals. On Kangaroo Island alone, as many as 25,000 koalas have died.

I was listening to one of my favorite running podcasts, Marathon Training Academy, earlier this week, when host Trevor Spencer interviewed Australian ultrarunner Samantha Gash. She had set up a virtual run (Relief Run) and invited people to participate by making a donation to the Australian Red Cross and running, wherever they are located, this weekend. She thought it would stay fairly local, in Australia. But news traveled quickly through the worldwide running community, and runs are being held around the globe this weekend! Runners have the option of setting up half-marathon or 5K “races.” Runners care about causes!

So I registered with Relief Run, set up a 5K in Harrisburg, and put the word out to running friends, on Thursday. Several friends registered right away, but unfortunately sickness and impending snow kept most of them away. That’s ok–it was a beautiful, peaceful morning, pre-snowfall, spent with my dear friend Joanne. Although it was extremely cold (25 degrees), we felt blessed to be able to run for such a compelling cause.

Joanne & I, Walnut St. Bridge, connecting City Island and Harrisburg, across the Susquehanna River

Every time I check the Relief Run’s website, the numbers of runners and donations continues to soar:

  • Thursday: 13,000 runners registered / $763,000+ raised
  • Today (Saturday): 16,375 runners / $942,120 raised… almost a million at this point!

The money, according to the Relief Run website, is helping the Red Cross deploy 1,285 trained staff and volunteers to disaster-affected communities, assisting people fleeing from the fires, and welcoming them at 69 evacuation and recovery centers.

What a contrast, to think about fire-ravaged Australia today, while running in bitter cold conditions. Just as we finished our run (3.77 miles actually) and popped over to Harrisburg’s Broad Street Market for welcoming cups of hot coffee, it started to snow. Good timing, a good cause, and a good cup o joe.

Broad Street Market, Harrisburg
My favorite coffee from Elementary Coffee Co, the Abacus with ground cardamom on the top

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