Race for a Reason

Rufus helps Allison Thournburgh, left, and Jed DeBruin warm up for the Race for a Reason at Peden Stadium Saturday.

Photographer: Wayne Thomas

Race for a Reason

A mud runner makes his way to the finish line in Saturday's Race for a Reason.

Photographer: Wayne Thomas

Race for a Reason

This marks the first year that Race for a Reason has partnered with the Athletes in Action Triathlon.

Photographer: Wayne Thomas

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Race for a Reason raises $30,000 for charities

The Ohio University community raised $30,000 for charities this Saturday during the O'Bleness Health System Race for a Reason. Hosted by OHIO's Center for Sports Administration and Athletes in Action, the event enabled participants to raise money for a cause of their choice while competing on one of three courses: a 5K road race, a mud run or a triathlon.

In all, 24 organizations raised $30,000 through pledges and online donations for more than 88 different causes. But event director Allie Pisching said that number will likely grow.  

"A lot of groups used this fundraiser to kick start a campaign … so they will continue to fundraise well past this weekend," said Pisching, a second-year sports administration graduate student.  

Launched in 2011, Race for a Reason was originally limited to a 5K and mud run. This year, the venue expanded its scope by partnering with the Athletes in Action Triathlon – a sprint-format triathlon comprising a 500-meter indoor swim, a 25-kilometer bike ride and a 5-kilometer run.  

"When I heard about the race for a reason, I thought, 'That's an awesome opportunity to bless the community.' … I think it gives people an opportunity to make it about something much more than themselves," said triathlon coordinator Bill Hauschild, a former Ohio University Army ROTC military science professor who now serves with Athletes in Action's campus ministry staff.

Though Hauschild did not compete in this year's event, his kids trumped the family relay division – a point of pride for the long-time tri-athlete.  

About 240 athletes competed in the Athletes in Action triathlon, with medals going to top division finishers as well as all first-time tri-athletes. The mud run attracted 177 athletes, while 113 runners competed in the 5K.

But the real winner in Saturday's races was the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – which will receive more than $13,500 in donations, thanks to fundraising by the Sports Administration Program and community-based group Lilly's Sunshine. Forty-two participants raced for cystic fibrosis, with more than $13,000 coming from the 25-member OU Sports Administration team.

"I'm so touched that people pause from their busy lives to focus on a cause like cystic fibrosis, which is so near and dear to our hearts," said Kathy Straley, who formed Lilly's Sunshine to honor her four-year old daughter's ongoing battle with cystic fibrosis. "We're so close to a cure, and I appreciate the momentum and spirit of change happening in our little college town."

Despite the day's dreary start – marked by unseasonably cold temperatures and even a bit of sleet – finishers were eventually greeted by sunshine at Tailgreat Park, where all three of the Race for a Reason events culminated Saturday afternoon.

The gathering was impressive – though not nearly as impressive as the races' potential impact, according to Pisching.

"Seeing all the different (causes) showed the sheer number of people that this race can reach," she said.

For complete race results, visit hfpracing.com/results.