ALGONQUIN – For the second consecutive year a large group of people, many of whom will be donning red dresses, will be running through town.
The second annual Red Run 5K Run/Walk is scheduled for Aug. 10 and will begin at Presidential Park. The event is meant to raise awareness of child sex trafficking.
Algonquin natives Cortina Nystad and Kristen Guerrieri, who created the event, began running in red dresses to get the message out about little girls in southeast Asia, clad in red dresses, who were sold into the sex trade.
Nystad and Guerrieri’s weekly runs down Route 62 eventually led to the development of the Red Run 5K.
Some event participants run in red dresses. Last year about half of the runners wore red dresses, including a father-daughter duo who won for best red dress, Guerrieri said.
Last year’s event attracted about 535 runners and raised $21,000 to $22,000. Guerrieri said she expects to have roughly the same number of runners this year.
Money raised from the 5K will go toward Anne’s House in Chicago, which is run by The Salvation Army’s Promise initiative.
Anne’s House is a residential facility that helps minors who have been sexually exploited.
Money also will be given to the Dreamcatcher Foundation, a survivor-led and focused organization in Chicago, and to Love146, an organization that provides prevention and aftercare solutions internationally.
Guerrieri said people are gathering pledges and sponsorships to run.
“So far a few people have done that, and [raised] $2,000 on their own,” she said.
The event will include prizes for the top male and female finishers, and the top three finishers in each age group. Raffle prizes include Chicago Cubs rooftop tickets and passes to Six Flags, according to a news release from event organizers.
Also scheduled to appear are vendors that support victims and survivors of human trafficking.
Guerrieri said cases in the suburbs of sex trafficking are hidden, and are online situations.
“Human trafficking is happening in the suburbs,” Guerrieri said. “It is our job as a community to get educated and know what signs to look for. Be a nosy neighbor. If you see something odd, report it.”