Despite the cloudy weather, 130 participants and volunteers gathered on Rider’s chilly Lawrenceville campus to run in the third annual Run Over Violence 5k. The race was hosted by the Rider Runners, with the proceeds benefiting Womanspace, the area’s leading agency in providing help to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Today’s event is not only about raising funds but about raising awareness for domestic violence, which many people don’t realize happens in their own communities every day,” said Susan Adams, a Womanspace representative.
The runners were able to raise approximately $2,200 for the cause, but, more importantly, they were able to deliver Womanspace’s message to more people than ever before.
“Last year, we only had about 35 runners and in the first race, we only had 15,” said Louis Chebetar, president of the Rider Runners. “We’ve been working on this event for the past eight months and I think our hard work paid off, since we had a dramatic increase of runners and volunteers this year.”
The club’s effort was evident as the runners went all-out, providing breakfast, water, live entertainment, T-shirts and prizes for the winners. Volunteers from the club, dressed in neon safety vests, spread out around the course to direct and guide the participants.
The increase in size of the run not only helped the event run more smoothly, but should also have a greater impact on Womanspace.
“With an event that keeps growing like this one, more people know what we do and hopefully will want to take action and do something to help Womanspace.” Adams said. The organization, which has existed for 34 years, has grown “by leaps and bounds in the past 15 years, and a lot of that development is due to community support,” she added.
The entire community, both on and off campus, helped to make the run a success. The sponsors included on campus organizations such as the Leadership Development Program, On Fire!!, Marketing and Advertising Student Association, Law Society, Japanese Pop Culture Society, as well as the off campus businesses and organizations such as Deloitte, PNC Bank, Americans for Financial Independence, Princeton Running Company, Road ID, MetLife and more. With so many companies involved, the run also served as a networking opportunity for students.
“The goal of having many large corporate sponsors is not just to raise more money for a great cause, but to have informal networking that my peers and I could really enjoy,” Chebetar said. “If networking is combined with a fun event in a relaxed atmosphere, you can really get to know someone and benefit from making that connection.”
To Chebetar, and the other runners, another key aspect of the run was the idea of building a community, from involving local businesses and campus organizations, to getting students involved and helping a local charity.
“I really feel that we’ve been building a community both on campus and off campus with all of our sponsors, students, and support we’ve received,” said Chebetar. “Hopefully next year the event will grow again, this time engaging more corporate sponsorship and student involvement.”