First Red Run in Algonquin This Weekend
The first Red Run will take place on Aug. 11 in Presidential Park in Algonquin.
Think about the last time you went on a run: what did you wear?
For Kristen Guerrieri and Cortina Nystad, the answer is a red dress.
Nystad and Guerrieri began this trend after learning about two little girls in red dresses from Cambodia that were sold in the sex trade in 2011. Nystad and Guerrieri wanted to draw attention to the issue of sex trafficking so they began running on Route 62 in Algonquin in red dresses.
“Every single time that I have ran, someone I know will contact me and ask, 'Was that you running in a red dress on 62?'” according to Nystad, who responded in an e-mail.
“It's great affirmation that people are noticing us. You can feel that cars are slowing down and staring," according to Nystad. "It is a little nerve-wracking, bringing such attention to yourself, but it is worth it for the cause. People on the sidewalk often ask what we're doing so we like having that opportunity to share about the event and cause.”
Nystad and Guerrieri decided to take their commitment to this cause to the next level by organizing a 5K run called The Red Run. The inaugural event will take place on Aug. 11 at Presidential Park in Algonquin on Highland Avenue.
Online registration for the race will be accepted through midnight on Aug. 6 on The Red Run website. Registration is $25 in advance or $35 at the door.
Around 200 participants are expected.
“We encourage participants to wear red, anything red, not only dresses,” Nystad said in an e-mail.
The run benefits the Salvation Army PROMISE (Anne’s House), a local residential program that provides aftercare for victims, and Love146, an organization that provides prevention and aftercare solutions internationally, according to a press release.
“Most people think, as I used to think, that child sex trafficking is something that happens abroad, when in reality, the children in our very own community are at-risk,” Nystad said in an email.
There will be two guest speakers at the event. The first is Brenda Myers-Powell, a survivor of the sex trade industry and founder of Dreamcatcher Foundation.
Frank Massolini, the director of the Salvation Army PROMISE Anne's House, will also speak. He, along with his wife, has personally rescued over 20 girls from Thailand.
“We are thrilled to have two excellent speakers at our event,” Nystad said in an e-mail.
The event will also feature raffle prizes, vendors, a bounce house for kids and music by K-LOVE radio.
In the future, Nystad and Guerrieri hope to get sex trafficking curriculum into schools, as well as finding a way to inform parents about the issue.
“Parents and children need to know how pimps lure youth so that they can protect themselves and others,” Nystad said in an email.
Contact Kristen Guerrieri at email@example.com for information about the sponsorship.