Runners push through rain at Mizzou for Malawi race

The race and the fall semester’s Chisangalalo benefit are the organization’s biggest fundraisers.
Fighting rainy weather conditions, runners race down Conley Avenue during the Mizzou for Malawi's Light up the Night 5K race on Sunday evening. The proceeds from the run go to help buy books and desks for children in Malawi.

Mizzou for Malawi hosted its annual Light Up the Night 5K Run/Walk on Sunday evening.

The race was the organization’s second and final fundraiser of the year. Eighty-five runners participated in the event raising about $1,700.

“We’ve been working for months to prepare everything and promote the run,” steering committee member Lindsay Roseman said. “We tried pretty hard to better incorporate the theme this year and make it more lit up so that it’s more exciting.”

Between Sunday’s event and the fall semester’s Chisangalalo benefit, the organization has set a goal to raise $8,000 to add to the more than $25,000 it has already raised during the past three years.

Since 2008, Mizzou for Malawi has been working in conjunction with the Global Orphan Project to raise enough funds to transform Salima, Malawi into a self-sustaining village. To do this, the organizations are constructing 60 homes, a school, a medical clinic, a church and a birthing center. The groups broke ground on the school last summer and now have it almost finished, steering committee member Jamie Hausman said.

“We’re raising money now to supply the desks and books,” she said. “The literacy rate is so low and this is one way we can help.”

Hausman relayed the story of a Kansas City nurse who was helping a woman who had experienced Malawi firsthand.

“She said there’s only like one book for every 15 kids,” Hausman said. “It really touched her heart when we started building this village for the orphans. A lot of their mothers and fathers have died through AIDS and civil wars.”

She said she is looking forward to seeing where the village goes after the construction is complete.

“The cool thing about it is once we get everything finished for them, they will be a self-sustaining village,” Hausman said. “People will go there and teach them how to run businesses and how to really create a little city.”

Steering committee members speculated ahead of time that Sunday's rain might have kept many runners indoors. Hausman had guessed the number would be down from the 218 who ran at last year’s race.

“Last year, about half of the people signed up beforehand, and 150 more people just came out because it was nice out,” Hausman said. “That’s where we got most of our runners, and I don’t know if that’s going to be the case today.”

Roseman ran in the race last year and joined the steering committee this year because she said she enjoyed the race. She said it is held in the evening for strategic reasons.

“Everyone has 5Ks,” she said. “A lot of organizations do that in the spring time. We just wanted to do something different. I think it’s more appealing to college students to do it later than earlier. A lot of us don’t want to get up early.”

Freshman Luke Landolt was one of the runners who braved the weather for Sunday’s event.

“It’s a good cause,” Landolt said. “I’m a freshman, and I’ve never done anything like this before.”

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