TROY — The annual World Race for Hope is set for New Year’s Day in downtown Troy. Participants are asked to meet at the gazebo on the levy, near the Troy High School football stadium, prior to the race’s 10 a.m. start.
The race is free, however participants are welcomed to donate and T-shirts will be available for sale. All proceeds will go toward organizations working to end human trafficking.
Online registration is available until 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, at https://runsignup.com/worldraceforhopetroy. Registration will also be available on race day, beginning at 9 a.m.
“This is the second year we decided to go with a free, no frills, informal 5K run/walk for this event,” said co-race director Brett Bogan. “We decided to make this change prior to the last race because of the weather uncertainty—we had a couple of really difficult weather years—but we felt like there were enough people who would want to keep up the tradition of running or walking a 5K to kick off the year.”
The World Race for Hope originally began 13 years ago as a fundraiser for Troy’s First United Methodist Church before its focus was shifted to shed light on social justice and human trafficking awareness, Bogan said.
After a fire at the FUMC’s First Place Christian Center destroyed the building in 2006, the 5K served as a way to raise money to go toward repair and reconstruction. According to Bogan, the race remained a fundraiser for four years.
“As a runner and a member of the church, I got involved in the race, eventually becoming the race director,” Bogan said. “I changed the focus of the event to be human trafficking. This was right around the time that I began learning about this issue, and in 2009 and 2010, you didn’t hear about it as much as you do nowadays.”
Bogan said he first learned the full extent of the issue of human trafficking as part of his job within the information security/data protection group for RELX, a parent company of LexisNexis, around the same time he took over as director of the race.
“RELX’s most important issue that they deal with from a corporate responsibility standpoint is the rule of law and they deal with and have helped organizations that are involved in the human trafficking space, so I was starting to learn more about the issue then,” he said. “I have a daughter who is now a teenager, but back when I was learning about this, knowing that a lot of the victims/survivors of human trafficking are women and girls, that sort of hit home to me that this could happen to my daughter if it weren’t for the circumstances that we’re in versus people who are growing up in other countries or in less than ideal circumstances.”
In 2012, Bogan, along with his friend and fellow runner Cynde Sroufe, who is also co-director of the race, founded the Free to Run Foundation, which aims to bring awareness and action toward the abolishment of modern day slavery and other injustices worldwide. The organization provides support to groups in the Dayton and Columbus areas, like Abolition Ohio and Oasis House, that provide resources and shelter for victims of human trafficking.
For more information, visit www.FreeToRunFoundation.org.
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