The streets are full of runners every weekend throughout Utah County, but a group racing through the streets of Mapleton on Saturday was running to help others throughout the world.
The Race Against Malaria 5k run/walk has become an annual event in the south Utah Valley city and is in its fourth year of raising funds for the Nothing But Net Campaign, an organization that supplies anti-malaria nets to protect families throughout Africa and Asia.
“This is the third year I’ve done it,” Susan Siddoway of Mapleton said. “If someone is willing to put the effort into organizing something that can benefit someone else like that, then you want to show up and help them.”
Fourteen-year-old Heather Asay was the organizer behind the event after taking over the reigns from her older sister who planned the three previous races.
“My sister helped me and told me what I needed to do and I just did it,” Asay said. “I think it’s for a really good cause, and I love doing service projects.”
Members of the community showed their support as nearly 40 participants took part in the race, helping to raise around $500. The funds will directly help about 200 people receive anti-malaria nets.
“I’m going to go run anyway so I thought that I’d support the cause,” said Amanda Bagley of Mapleton, who used the race as training for an upcoming half marathon.
The Pratt family recently moved to Mapleton and decided to make it a family affair, bringing their dog along with them as well.
“The young girl [Heather] who put it on happens to be in our ward,” JB Pratt said. “So I thought it was a neat opportunity. And getting out on a Saturday morning when we’re going to run anyways, we might as well come down and buy mosquito nets for kids.”
“I’ve known the Asay family and their girls for a while so I thought I’d come and support them as well,” Siddoway said. “Plus, I think I’m going to take it for my age group this year because no one is as old as I am this year.”
The racecourse started in front of the Mapleton City offices and led the runners through Mapleton’s quiet streets to the City Park where finishers celebrated.
Asay plans to organize the event again next year and continue to help others by volunteering her time.
To find out more about the Nothing But Net Campaign you can visit its website.