If you hit triple sevens at the casino, you’ve won yourself a jackpot.

But not all jackpots are created equal.  Running enthusiast Michael Brooks is living out his own version of triple sevens.  In the next seven days, he will be running seven marathons in seven different cities at age 70.

Unlike a gambler running on luck, Brooks is running for a cause: to raise funds for Camp Sunshine, the only camp in our nation that provides year-round programs for  families that have children suffering from life threatening illnesses.

Over the last decade, running for charitable causes has been on the rise.  Most have heard of Race for the Cure and Relay for Life, two established races that raise funds for cancer research.   There are countless options if you are interested in running for a specific purpose, and you don’t have to be as ambitious as Michael Brooks.

Whether it’s you’re first 5K or you’re an avid runner that appreciates a challenging course, you should consider registering for Race Against Traffick.   It is one of the only races in Maryland that helps to raise awareness and funds for survivors of human trafficking.  Hosted by Baltimore’s  Araminta Freedom Initiative, this race also includes a 1K fun walk, which makes it the perfect event for the entire family.

One unique feature about this 5K is that each participant has the option of writing the name of an actual person on their forearm – a person who is either currently trafficked or who has recently been freed from that lifestyle.  This serves as a visual reminder of not just why they are running but who they are running for.


Race participants show who they are running for in last year’s race. (Photo taken by Tracy Smith/TU student)

Participants in previous years have found this element personally moving.  Some choose to let the name slowly fade off of their arm over time, as opposed to immediately washing it off.  Seeing that name written on their arm can be a reminder of the soberness of this issue days after the race is over.  It also provides a natural yet interesting  opportunity to share and educate others about trafficking in our own city.

Proceeds from the race will once again support the work of Araminta Freedom Initiative locally, with a portion gifted for work overseas through Justice Ventures International.

While the race offers cash prizes and recognition for top finishers, the real reward will be knowing that a short time spent one morning will hopefully have a lasting impact on someone else’s life.


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