More than 300 members of the Georgetown community participated in the second annual 5K Race Against Homelessness, a charity event hosted by the Georgetown Ministry Center and the Center for Social Justice, on Saturday.
Proceeds from the race go toward the GMC’s street outreach programs to combat chronic homelessness in Washington, D.C. According to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, there were 12,000 homeless individuals in the District in 2014.
GMC could not provide the amount of donations raised at this year’s event. Last year’s race raised $12,000 for the GMC.
The race took place on the third annual Georgetown Community Day, a daylong celebration of the Georgetown neighborhood with live music, food and free giveaways organized by the university.
Multiple student groups and business were involved in sponsoring the event, including Students of Georgetown, Inc., Sigma Phi Epsilon, Kappa Kappa Gamma, the Georgetown Business Improvement District and Bank of Georgetown.
The event began with the 5-kilometer run and a 2-kilometer walk, followed by a post-race tailgate with food and music. Pre-registered runners and walkers received free merchandise to commemorate the race. Participants had the option of racing solo or creating a team of runners, walkers or a combination of the two.
5K Race Against Homelessness Marketing Director Nicole Du (COL ’16) said she was impressed with the day’s programming. Du publicized the event by creating a page on Facebook, encouraging students and members of the Georgetown community to register online in advance for a $5 reduction in price. Advanced registration cost $10 for participants under 22 and $20 for those over.
“The day was great,” Du said. “The weather was perfect, and afterwards there was a celebration with the whole Georgetown neighborhood.”
GMC Director of Leadership, Fundraising and Street Outreach Gunther Stern said that the event is still raising its profile at the university and is focused on increasing participation every year.
“This is a build year,” Stern said. “We’re hoping as the construction is done at Georgetown and we’re getting a little bit more experience, the course will be better and there will be a lot more people attracted to the race.”
While the mission of the event was to raise funds for the GMC to increase their community outreach, Stern said that it also sought to raise awareness of homelessness in the D.C. community.
According to Stern, the continuation of this event in its second year was largely dependent on funding from its sponsors. In addition to the student groups and Georgetown businesses, restaurants such as The Hamilton, Old Ebbitt Grill and Clyde’s of Georgetown contributed to the event.
Chris Regan (COL ’17), who served as Sigma Phi Epsilon’s liaison to the CSJ for the event, said that the race plays an important role in highlighting the issue of homelessness.
“I was amazed at the support [the event] earned from both the runners and the volunteers,” Regan said. “The issue of homelessness in Georgetown is usually overlooked because it’s such an affluent area, so I think the race’s greatest success is in its ability to bring attention to the problem and get the community thinking about it as a more prominent issue.”
Regan said he enjoyed his time at the race and hopes to have the opportunity to contribute to the event in the coming years.
“I was very happy to be involved in the race this year,” Regan said. “It is something that I certainly hope to continue being a part of it in the future.”
Stern said that although this is only the second year that the race has been held, he has high hopes for future iterations of the event.
“We’re hoping this is something that we’ll continue to do for a while,” Stern said.