Nearly 130 students participated in a 5k color run Saturday morning, braving wind, mud and rain to raise funds for maternity health around the world.
The participants were covered with clouds of paint powder as they took off from the starting line and again as they rounded through the Nature Preserve on their way back. The event, which raised $1,510, was coordinated by student organization Partners in Health (PIH), which was chartered by the Student Association last semester.
According to Zara Shah, president and founder of PIH at Binghamton University and a sophomore double-majoring in biochemistry and anthropology, it is an international nonprofit organization that raises money to deliver important health care for those who need it most in poor communities around the world.
“Partners in Health Binghamton is one of the 60-plus communities consisting of high school and university students, and young and old working professionals,” Shah said. “We believe health is a human right.”
The 5k, which was the group’s first event, was arranged to raise awareness of international maternal health issues. The money is being used to send medical personnel and equipment to countries that lack the resources to help families through pregnancy and birth.
“This year’s campaign goal is to better maternal health conditions,” Shah said. “In the U.S. our maternal death rate is zero percent. Women have no problems giving birth here because we have the facilities and materials for it. Our goal with this color run is to raise awareness that in other countries this is not the case.”
Although Shah had only planned to raise $1,000, she said the powdered paint was an important draw to the race.
“The reason we made it a color run was to add the aspect of fun,” Shah said. “Even if they weren’t excited for the Partners in Health run they would be excited to get colors thrown at them.”
William Ferrante, a junior double-majoring in biology and studio art, said his friends in the organization convinced him to participate but he also thought that the fundraising was admirable.
“My friends in Partners in Health wanted me to do it so I said ‘why not,’ plus we’re running for a really great cause,” Ferrante said.
The inclement weather, which continued throughout the registration period, subsided beforehand and did not inhibit the race.
Ferrante was one of the first three people to traverse the five-kilometer course, and finished in 25 minutes.
“It was definitely really muddy but it didn’t really affect my performance,” Ferrante said. “It was good running weather otherwise.”
Shah said that despite the weather, the student response was good enough to repeat the race next year.
“This is one of the events we want to make happen every single year and I think this is definitely an event we can grow on and next year we can definitely make it better,” Shah said.