Safehouse Strong 5k beats the heat with great turnout

Published 2:34 pm Monday, August 28, 2023

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By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

PELHAM – The high was 88 degrees at Oak Mountain State Park on Saturday, Aug. 26, but that didn’t stop folks from running the SafeHouse Strong 5K.

SafeHouse is a Pelham-based nonprofit that provides services for those dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault, including providing both emergency shelter and comprehensive support to victims. The group runs critical domestic and sexual violence response, prevention, and intervention programs for the communities of Shelby, Coosa, Clay and Chilton counties.

“One of the things we do is we go out into the community and educate high school students, middle school students and university students about healthy relationships.” Janelle Sierra, Executive Director of SafeHouse. “The red flags to look for in a relationship and how to have healthy boundaries. We believe in helping the people that need help, but also trying to help stop the cycle of violence in our communities by changing the hearts and minds of people one at a time.”

The SafeHouse Strong 5k is one of the many events put on by SafeHouse that helps raise money for and to spread awareness of their services. The 5k has traditionally proven to be among the most popular of such events and has historically led the way in the raising of money and garnering community engagement.

This year’s SafeHouse Strong 5K was the 4th annual running of the event and kicked off at 9:30 a.m. The 5K took place on the Lake Trail of Double Oak Lake because it is a family-friendly and moderate trail. Dogs were allowed, but only if they were kept on leashes.

Even if participants could not make the race in person, they could support the 5K virtually by running it at an alternative location and time. Around 84 people ran in the 5K, and $15,564 was raised to help fund SafeHouse programs.

“It’s just an incredible fundraising opportunity for us,” Sierra said. “We’re so appreciative to the community, for the sponsorships and the people participating and running with us, walking with us despite the heat. We know it took a lot for them to come out and be there with us. And so we just really appreciate everybody because without them, we wouldn’t be able to help the people in our community that need SafeHouse.”