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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Race goes on despite weather

Gusty winds, cold temperatures and a steady rain were not enough to stop Saturday’s BGSU/Kenya 5K Benefit Third Annual Race Against AIDS from being a success. Although race organizers had doubts in the beginning, the race went on as planned.

“It got to the point when I told Josh [Otiso] and Bernard [Manyibe], ‘we need to cancel this race,'” said Secretary James Karichu. “But then we saw everyone showing up and we knew we had to proceed.”

While planned guest of honor, Kenyan Olympian Kipchoge “Kip” Keino, could not be present because of cancelled travel planes due to a busy humanitarian schedule, there were other prominent guests in attendance.

“I want to thank everyone who attended the race. I was really touched to see the [University] Vice President, the Mayor and track coach Cami Wells,” Karichu said. Members from several campus groups also showed up to support the Race Against AIDS. Members of the BGSU water polo team raced wearing homemade “Team Kenya” t-shirts, while the Army ROTC finished the race as a unit. Members of the swim team attended and supported the race, but the race was dominated by the members of the BGSU men’s cross country squad, who were the first to cross the finish line.

The participants ran a course that outlined the perimeter of campus. The toughest part of the course was behind the football stadium, where gusty winds made running difficult, but everyone managed to pull through.

“I want to congratulate all the people who showed up for the run,” benefit President Josh Otiso said. “It was windy, cold and rainy. Thank you so much. They not only participated in the run, they helped raise awareness for AIDS/HIV in Kenya.”

Otiso also issued thanks to benefit faculty advisors Dr. Lorraine Haricombe and Travis Chapin, who is currently in Kenya.

After a grueling 3.1 miles, runners were greeted at the finish line by cheering students and other race supporters. Unlike many races, where competition takes precedence over anything else, the Race Against AIDS was surrounded by an overwhelming sense of community and goodwill. Fellow racers cheered for and congratulated each other and then huddled together for warmth.

An awards presentation outside the football stadium followed the end of the race. The top three men and women finishers overall and in several age categories were awarded with “Kenya” t-shirts, wood carvings from Kenya and Kenyan necklaces.

Otiso estimated about 120 runners participated, which is close to last year’s number. Considering last year’s race was run on a beautiful sunny day, this year’s race can certainly be considered a success.

“I would say the event was successful. We had pretty good media coverage. It’s a fast growing race in Ohio,” Otiso said.

Media members from the Sentinel and BG 24 News channel were among those in attendance to cover the race.

An event such as this is not just about running. To see so many people come together to support such an important cause warmed the hearts of the race organizers.

“[It] was so touching. There was a sense of care. To me it means that there are people out there who care about people with HIV. That was awesome,” Karichu said.

The money participants paid for entry fees and event t-shirts will be donated to Youth Vision International, a non- governmental organization that helps educate youth and prevent the spread of AIDS in Kenya.

The future for the Race Against AIDS looks bright and organizers are optimistic about next year’s run.

“Everytime we have had the race, many people hear about it. We hope it will keep going,” Otiso said.

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