I am deeply honored to be able to tell you all about a July 28 5K in Ulysses, KS called the Red Thread Movement 5K. It is being organized to raise money and awareness for an organization that empowers Nepalese women once held captive in sexual slavery. I ask you, no, I beg you: Please read the following interview with the race director, Ms. Kristin Baldwin. She is one of the most inspirational women I have ever come across, and her interview was nothing short of eloquent, honest, and passionate.
How did you come to be involved in working with Eternal Threads?
KB: I first heard of Eternal Threads in the beginning of May. My brother's girlfriend, Megan Forney, has been working there since mid-May. I wasn't sure what all they did until my brother went to visit Megan in Abilene and brought me back one of the bracelets they sell that are made by rescued girls in Nepal. After that, I asked Megan some more questions about the organization and what they're all about, and I fell in love with their cause. I knew I wanted to do a fundraiser, and I thought a run would be the perfect option for the summertime.
Is working with non-profits something you would like to do in the future, or did you feel a specific calling for this organization?
KB: I think non-profits are great, but they are a huge task to take on. They're very involved and take a lot of time and money. I would love to help with some but so far as running one or working for one full time, I wouldn't want to do that. I do feel a specific calling for this one. Sex trafficking is one of the most horrific crimes in my opinion. It's absolutely disgusting to me that men and women rip young girls away from their families and ruin their lives completely. For many of them, even after they're rescued, having any type of normal life is over. They'll never be able to have a healthy relationship again. And how could they? I just want to help in making these girls realize there is hope, and even people who don't know them value them and their lives. They are worth something and have a purpose.
What gave you the idea to organize a road race?
KB: Several organizations have held 5Ks and 1 mile runs in Ulysses. I have participated in a few of them and they're always on the edge of town on a golf course. The course is always confusing and the terrain is a little rough. I don't really enjoy running in those ones. I have also run in bigger events like The Little Rock Half Marathon and The Color Run in Kansas City. Those races are so much more fun to run. You're in the streets, people drive by and cheer you on, and it just makes the experience so much more fun. I wanted something that would be enjoyable for everyone who wanted to participate. I wanted an event that was different than other races that had been held here. I was also hoping that making it different would make it more appealing so that more people would want to get involved.
Did you design the race course?
KB: I did design the course. The start and finish line are on Main street and the course crosses some high-traffic (but safe) roads in town. I did that on purpose so that even people who may not hear about the race before hand will get their interest sparked and come to Main street to see what it's all about.
What is your favorite thing about running?
KB: I love the freeing feeling about running. There's no better opportunity to just get away from it all, and think about whatever it is that crosses your mind. I have solved many "life problems" on my runs. I've also had some great conversations with my close friends and my sister on runs.
What advice do you have for someone interested in putting together something like this?
KB: Go into the event full-hearted and with eyes wide open. Organizing a large event like this is a LOT of work, and it can seem like a huge burden at times, but remember what's at the finish line. Whether the event is helping a community organization or helping girls who have been trafficked, it's worth it. Don't lose sight of that. Never be afraid to ask for help. An event is too much work to do it alone. Delegate! And make sure those who are helping are just as dedicated to and passionate about the cause as you are. The more passion that goes into an event, the better the end result and turn out will be because people pick up on those things.
Do you have any specific prayer requests at the moment?
KB: Please pray for success for this event. Most importantly, please pray for the the millions of girls who are in sexual slavery. Pray for awareness of trafficking and hope for the victims.
Thank you so much, Kristin. I cannot wait to be a part of this race, and I hope and pray that this will become an annual event! Many Blessings to you and to all who cross this Finish Line.