On your marks, get set and get ready for the first POWER (Austin People Organizing Wealth and Economic Resources) 5K walk and run.
Organizers of the Sept. 26 walk/run held a rally last weekend at Columbus Park Refractory, 5701 W. Jackson Blvd.
Several dozen people turned up for the event, where they had an opportunity to register for the race/walk at a discounted rate and take a lap around the park.
“The 5K is an opportunity to come together and really address health, address the look of Austin and just what we want to do to create a more cohesive community,” said Malcolm Crawford, president of the Austin African American Business Networking Association, one of the event’s sponsors.
Other sponsors include the 15th District Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS), Helping Our People Excel (HOPE) and Performing Community Solutions.
“This is a true collective effort,” Crawford said. “We have pastors, businesses, we have elected officials, you have somewhat of everybody here. So, it’s a real coming together of everybody in the community.”
Early registration continues through Aug. 15, said Latrice Hampton of HOPE.
Cost is $30 for individuals, $250 for teams up to 10 people, and a mile walk for seniors and youth is $10. After Aug. 15 registration increases to $35, $300 and $15, respectively, Hampton said.
The 5K will begin at the intersection of North Mayfield and Chicago avenues, continue east to Cicero Avenue, turn north to Augusta Boulevard, then south on North Lavergne Avenue and finally back west on Chicago Avenue to the finish line, said Pastor Tim Hoekstra of Hope Community Church.
Organizers hope 700 to 1,000 people will take part, said Pastor Steve Epting of Hope Community Church.
The main goals of the event are to help people improve their fitness level, rally around youth development by creating opportunities in entrepreneurship, provide scholarships and after-school programs, and share development plans for Chicago Avenue, Epting said.
“When you create a vision, people need to see their place in the vision,” Epting said.
While there are no prizes for participants, Crawford said, everyone who takes part will be welcome to an after-run festival featuring live entertainment and local vendors.
Some people at the rally — including recent Michigan State graduate Tejuanna Williams, who competed in track and field there and is a member of Hope Community Church — said they’re excited for both the chance to participate in the 5K and raise awareness about issues facing Austin.
“I’m a short-sprinter, but I will try my hardest to get through this (5K),” Williams said. “We’re very adamant about helping out the youth; we like to give back to the community. So, if we can run to benefit others, I think that’s an easy way to benefit people, so why not do it?”
For more information about the event or to register online, click here.