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Run for Courage raises $70,000

By: Brett Ransford Telegraph Correspondent
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About 2,000 participants gathered at the Folsom Parkway Trails for the second Run for Courage 5K/10K on Saturday morning. Run For Courage, Inc. is a non-profit organization which began last year and donated more than $41,000 from more than 700 participants toward building a safe home for victims of sex trafficking. Last year’s inaugural event included seven vendors and 25 sponsors in addition to donations and funds raised through registration. A year later in the same empty field behind Raley’s shopping center on the corner of Blue Ravine Road and East Natoma Street was an impressive showing of 38 vendors and more than 35 sponsors. Ashlie Bryant, Run for Courage executive director, said the organization hoped to raise around $100,000 at this year’s event. “We want people to understand the crimes of sex trafficking in the United States and to understand what they can do. The support has been overwhelming,” said Bryant. Participants and more than 100 community volunteers filled the start line around 7:15 a.m. on Saturday as live music began. Water stations included local high school students from Oak Ridge, Folsom, San Juan and other volunteers came from Sacramento to Placerville to offer what they could. “People can learn about sex trafficking and what each person’s individual gifts are and what they can do,” said Bryant. “I’m a 20-year cancer survivor and a runner who knows how to put on a race so this has been my gift.” Race times started with the 8 a.m. 10K and the 8:05 a.m. 5K races. Racers came from all over to support a cause passionate to many. “I just felt like the cause was so amazing that it had to be the 10K that I ran,” said Catheraine Sherman from Reno, Nev. “It’s such a strong cause and something you don’t think about in the U.S. so much. I felt like it was one of those things you had to do given the opportunity.” A number of churches and local community groups came in strong numbers to volunteer for the event. El Dorado Hills resident Robin Bernardoni is the owner of Runway Boutique in El Dorado Hills and one of the 15 women who help organize the race with Bryant. She and her husband Pete are members of the Rolling Hills Christian Church and put on their running gear for a cause close to home. “We know a lot of people here. We know a lot of the organizers and people from our church are also involved in organizing and supporting this today,” said Pete. “I think the community is paying attention to this cause and doing something about it. Next year it should be even bigger.” Proceeds from Saturday’s event will be distributed to multiple organizations, programs, residential facilities or homes which have been carefully selected by Run for Courage officials. For more information visit Runforcourage.com.