In 5K race to benefit global health, an unexpected winner

    Dressed in jeans and a white T-shirt, Music junior Charles Asch showed up at the Lakefill on Saturday morning to film Northwestern GlobeMed’s 5K charity race for a class video project on fitness.

    But by the time the race was over, he had cut across the yellow ribbon to win the event, ahead of eleven other runners.

    “I just decided to run a couple of minutes before it,” Asch said. The camera filmed him running a steady pace to the sounds of music, the whistles of the wind and cheers of support.

    “I run for class every morning because I’m late,” he said. “That’s it. I did not expect to win.”

    GlobeMed seeks to improve health around the world, and the “Food For Thought” 5K is the second race that the Northwestern chapter has organized this school year to raise money for the Health Outreach and Peer Education (HOPE) Center of Ho, Ghana.

    Twelve runners made five laps around the Lakefill to close the event, which raised about $850. The Fall 2007 race earned half as much, despite more participation.

    “This time we just tried to focus on people donating,” said Peter Chang, fundraising coordinator for Northwestern GlobeMed and a Weinberg senior. “A lot of people registered just to donate to the cause without intending to run.”

    The money will help out a malnutrition-reduction project at the HOPE Center, which opened in April 2007 to serve more than 4,000 Ghanaians in rural communities.

    Malnutrition is a key health concern in the Ho District, where 45 percent of all children younger than five years old are underweight or malnourished, according to the Ghana Health Service. GlobeMed will raise $4,000 to help cover the first 12 months of the program.

    “I think it’s a great idea to combine those who have an interest in running and those who want to support non-profits, especially international non-profits,” second-place finisher and Communication freshman Jessica Lau said.

    The program hopes to reduce malnutrition by two-thirds in the next two years by combining a community demonstration farm along with meal-preparation workshops and rehabilitation.

    “We want to show them how to efficiently raise crops,” Weinberg junior and GlobeMed member Anand Sandhinti said. “And to efficiently tackle health problems is to efficiently tackle poverty problems.”


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