The Ohio University Sports Administration Graduate Program and the OU Valor Military Ministry are hosting the 10th Race for Reason event, which will occur Saturday, April 17 to Monday, April 26.

The event will raise money for various charities and non-profit organizations through registrations for the six available races, as $10 from each participant’s registration fee will go toward a charity of their choice. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the races will take place individually. Participants will sign up for their desired race and select the destination of their donation. The participants will individually log their times into the operating system provided by Race for a Reason. 

If You Go:

What: Race for a Reason

Where: Varies

When: Saturday, April 17 to Monday, April 26

Admission: $25

Photo provided via Kathy Straley.

Hailey Hice, a masters of sports administration student and executive director of Race for a Reason, is thrilled to still adapt and have this event in spite of the pandemic. 

“What will happen is you can select whatever race you want, from the races listed, and then any time from April 17 to April 26, you run your event on your own,” Hice said. “So what makes this unique with our program is having so many alumni in different states across the globe. They don't necessarily do it as a competitive standpoint, they do it from more of a community service standpoint. So, it's a unique way this year for them to continue to be active and give back to different nonprofits in the area.” 

The theme for this race is titled “What’s Your Reason?” and Hice said the theme has a lot of significance to the community. 

“The reason part comes in where we don't raise money for one specific cause as an event, we try to raise money for as many causes as we can,” Hice said. “So reasons are synonymous with nonprofits that we serve. At the very end of everything, what will happen is, through all those registration fees, we will make a large donation based off of what people put their funds towards – each of those nonprofits.”

Photo provided via Haley Hice.

Elizabeth Sayrs, executive vice president and provost of OU, participated in Race for a Reason for the first time in 2019. Sayrs recognized the meaningful nature of the event.

“[The event’s purpose] is to really draw attention to things that we care about, and to really fundraise for those things,” Sayrs said. “It’s a way for the community to come together and it is one of my favorite events of the year.”

One of the possible foundations accepting donations is Lilly’s Sunshine, a local organization raising money for cystic fibrosis research. Kathy Straley is Lilly Straley’s mother, who is the center of Lilly’s Sunshine. Lilly was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a young child, and Lilly’s Sunshine has been a part of the Race for Reason event since 2013. 

Kathy Straley said the continued participation by OU students, Athens residents and various other supporters offers her and her daughter hope for thorough research into cystic fibrosis.

“We've really been honored to be connected to this event since 2013,” Kathy Straley said. “It really gives us a lot of hope to see people involved in changing people's lives that are impacted by cystic fibrosis. We really enjoy the students that get involved and the community members that get involved. And it just really gives us hope that this disease will be cured.”

Photo provided via Kathy Straley.

Sayrs will be running in support of Lilly’s Sunshine. Sayrs said that the event, despite its individual nature this year, is still a collective project. 

“I think we've learned a lot over the last year that we can come together virtually and in person,” Sayrs said. “And one of the reasons I want to run on the bike path is because I live a couple miles outside of Athens and I wanted to try to recapture some of that being together with people as part of it. I think it's one of the ways we can come together virtually around a similar cause even if we can't all be together in person at the same time.”

For Hice, it is these acts of kindness and the illumination of these specific organizations that make the Race for Reason event worthwhile. 

“It's huge for these different groups that would never have this type of visibility and provides them that platform to really share their message,” Hice said. “If we can give a shelter dog a new bowl or allow kids to go to summer camp or help the battered moms that we also serve through one of our nonprofits, that makes it all worth it to me.”