True Life Run shows unique side of festival

Runners complete challenges quickly to raise money for the True Life Fund.

Runners and walkers took to the streets of downtown Columbia at 9 a.m. Saturday for the True Life Run, a 5k as interesting and unique as the True/False Film Fest itself.

Outfits ranged from shorts and T-shirts to wings and tutus, and participants included dogs and parents with strollers. Kids participated in the race and were led along the course and through the finish line by their parents. Runners milled about before the race, warming up, stretching and chatting with fellow participants.

The course had four challenges along the way, as well as two different ways to earn time bonuses. Race participants met with what race coordinator Patrick Hanson called “field day challenges.” These challenges had participants running up eight flights of stairs in a parking garage, hopping across Carnahan Quad, playing Red Light, Green Light on Francis Quad, and carrying an egg on a spoon down Columns Drive.

“The challenges made it really fun,” women’s division winner Sarah Jane Kerwin said. “It wasn’t like a normal race. I was running, and then suddenly I was walking as fast as I could with an egg.”

Winners were decided based on their times and how well they completed the challenges. This year, the fastest man and woman had also done the best on the challenges. The winners of both the men’s and women’s divisions snagged free Lux passes to next year’s True/False.

“I haven’t been to True/False, but now I got a Lux pass,” men’s division winner Hayden Legg said. “I’m excited, but now I have to wait a whole year to enjoy it.”

The race is connected with the True Life Fund, the festival’s philanthropic event. Proceeds from the True Life Run go to the True Life Fund and support the subject of one of True/False’s movies every year.

In 2015, the True Life Fund raised $35,000 for Adi Rukun, the subject of “The Look of Silence,” according to the True/False website. This year, 98 runners participated and entry for the race was $25. This money will be added to $15,000 from the Bertha Foundation, as well as money raised over the weekend through donations.

The movie chosen this year was “Sonita,” which is about an Afghan refugee named Sonita Alizadeh, who is a young rapper living in Tehran, Iran.

Sonita was at the race, as was director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami. Before they were whisked away to a Q&A, both women spoke, and Sonita even ran part of the race.

“I don’t have much to say, just that I am excited to run with you,” Sonita Alizadeh says.

Hanson led a countdown to the race, and the runners were off. They ran down Ninth Street until they reached Rollins and turned toward Carnahan Quad and Peace Park, eventually winding back to Flat Branch Park.

They crossed under a bridge and across the finish line one by one until the final participant crossed and ended the 2016 True Life Run.

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