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5K gives runners chance to make difference world away

 Nearly 200 runners took part in last year’s Run For Kenya organized by Integrity Worldwide at Bloch Park. The event features a 5K run and a 1-mile fun run and supports water projects in Kenya.

Nearly 200 runners took part in last year’s Run For Kenya organized by Integrity Worldwide at Bloch Park. The event features a 5K run and a 1-mile fun run and supports water projects in Kenya.

Runners in Saturday’s Integrity Worldwide 5K will be helping people on the other side of the world.

The organization’s annual 5K and 1-mile fun run will take place at 9 a.m. at Bloch Park. Like in years past, proceeds from the event will go toward Integrity Worldwide’s water projects in Meto, Kenya and surrounding communities.

Organizers are anticipating one of the largest runs the group has ever — about 250 runners expected to take part. Last year, around 175 runners participated in the 5K run.

“It’s really growing this year, because we think God really wants these water projects to happen in these two locations in Kenya,” Integrity Worldwide co-founder Averee Hicks said. “We’ve got these two villages that are itty bitty, and they really need water in order to thrive.”

The race is Integrity Worldwide’s major fundraiser for the year and helps the organization reach its goal of helping those in need in Kenya. Through the help of donations, Integrity has been able to complete many projects that have helped improve the standard of living for many.

“We provide water projects, deep water wells, school scholarships and we have a school lunch program for the school children in Meto, Kenya,” Intergrity Worldwide interim executive director Ashley Johnson said. “We partner with the school to feed them three days a week. Then, we also have a microcredit business program where we jumpstart small businesses.”

The cost to register for the race is $25 per person. An award ceremony will be held after the race with awards being given to first, second and third place for the following age groups: 12-and-under, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60 plus.

In an effort to reduce the long lines Saturday morning as runners arrive, Integrity Worldwide will set up Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Arsenal Place, located at 900 Alabama Avenue, to give out race packets to those that are pre-registered. Runners who stop by then will receive their T-shirt, race bib and other information.

On Saturday, registration will start at 8 a.m. and will last until close to race time.

This year the 5K race path will revert back to its original route after it had to be altered last year because of the bridge construction project on Dallas Avenue.

This year’s 5K will start at Bloch Park, go down Dallas Avenue toward downtown Selma and circle through Old Live Oak Cemetery before finishing back at Bloch Park.

Like in year’s past, times will be available immediately after the race thanks to live electronic scoring provided by Orion Sports Timing.

“We always try to do something unique with our 5K,” Johnson said. “What sets us apart is we have chips that runners can tie to their tennis shoes and they get instantaneous results as you cross the finish line.”

The 1-mile fun run will feature a new path, as runners will run towards the city marina in an effort to highlight the event’s title sponsor, The Sandbar Restaurant.

The other title sponsors for this year’s Integrity Worldwide races are Selma Urgent Care, TrueSouth Properties and Children’s Dentistry of Central Alabama.

For more information on Saturday’s races or on how to help Integrity Worldwide with its outreach projects, visit www.integrityworldwide.org.