Running for a reason

Second annual Building Blocks for Africa 5K set for Oct. 16

This photo came as a “thank you” to Building Blocks for Africa race participants last year. The teachers are wearing race T-shirts sent after last year’s event. The race this year will be Oct. 16 at Alcoa Middle School.

This photo came as a “thank you” to Building Blocks for Africa race participants last year. The teachers are wearing race T-shirts sent after last year’s event. The race this year will be Oct. 16 at Alcoa Middle School.

The second annual Building Blocks for Africa road race is proof a group of ladies who love to run can put their passion to good use.

“We’re a group of girls who meet early in the morning and love to run,” said race director Katie Logan. “Last year we talked about doing more with our running. We were running for ourselves, and we wanted to be able to use it to serve others. This was a way to combine our love for running and a passion to help other and involve the community in the process.”

The beneficiary of their efforts is a group called Alliance for Youth Achievement. Logan said she learned about the Alliance for Youth Achievement in Maryville and encouraged the group to plan a 5-K to benefit the alliance’s efforts to build a school in Nairobi. “Last year we raised over $10,000. We had over 300 people involved, and it was a great, great year,” she said. “We had a lot fun last year.”

The race director said the group runs on the Greenbelt. “We’re all from Blount County, and our goal is two-fold: To raise money for this special school in Nairobi called ‘Maximum Impact,’ but also to let people know about this non-profit organization in our backyard doing awesome stuff in Africa,” she said.

Logan said part of the goal is to get the word out in the community about AYA so people take notice and continue to support them. “They do a ton in Africa, especially in Kenya and Uganda,” Logan said.

The race director said that this year’s race will also be at Alcoa Middle School. “The Alcoa School System has been awesome to open their doors,” she said. “Last year several area schools were involved in fundraising. We had a little competition between area schools in fundraising.”

Logan said students at Maryville Intermediate School, Fairview Elementary School and Maryville Blount Elementary School were involved and the John Sevier Elementary School Running Club also participated. Mary Blount Elementary won the fundraising contest, she said.

“This is our second annual race. It is at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16, at Alcoa Middle School. We’ve tried to create a good atmosphere for both serious runners and for families if they’re looking for some place to come,” she said. “They can come and walk a mile with their kids, or they can do the 5-K event. It is for both serious running and families.”

Chick-Fil-A provides post-race food, and there are great door prizes. Tony Basilio’s Saturday morning crew with 1180 AM ESPN Radio is broadcasting from the race.

For information on the race or Alliance for Youth Achievement, call 865-983-5863 or email Alliance executive director Mandy Stinnett Adkins at www.Allforyouth.org for more information.

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