The American Refugee Committee (ARC) announced it raised over $100,000 for aid efforts in Somalia during Run to Unite, a run/walk in Minnehaha Park on Saturday, Oct. 20. Funds were generated by participant entry fees, pledges and a dollar-for-dollar match by African money transfer service Dahabshill.
Participants showed up at the park on a chilly morning not knowing how long its course would be. The length was determined by a paper chain ARC had been building one link at a time based on donations. For each dollar, another link was added. Laid end-to-end, it stretched for two miles. Hundreds of participants of all backgrounds ran or walked the length of the chain and back, bringing the course’s length to four miles.
Before the start of the race, attendees were treated to a speech and warm-up session by champion Somali distance runner Abdi Bile. The first Somali to hold the world championship for the 1,500 meter run and a two-time Olympian, Bile kicked off the actual run by leading the children in attendance through the course.