Road Race for Animals raises money and awareness

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By Dixita Limbachia

The participants at Omega Tau Sigma’s annual 5k race were a little furrier than the traditional competition.

Omega Tau Sigma, the University’s veterinary fraternity, held their twenty second Road Race for Animals on Sunday, which was followed by a reception for runners both human and animal.

Last year, OTS raised over $1,000 to benefit local student-run organizations — such as the Wildlife Medical Clinic and A Pet’s Place — that provide services to victims of animal abuse and domestic violence.

The Wildlife Medical Clinic is a veterinary non-profit clinic that provides services to injured wildlife, and A Pet’s Place shelters the animals of domestic violence survivors that are staying at A Woman’s Place in Urbana or BETHS (Because Eventually the Healing Starts) Place in Tuscola.

In a study conducted by Jennifer Hardesty, associate professor in human development and family studies, with responses from 19 local pet-owning, domestic abuse survivors, 78.9 percent of the participants said they lacked control over decisions about their pets. 47.4 percent said their pets were used by their abuser as a form of control.

Maddy Erba, OTS co-chair, said she is glad the event could help local organizations.

“It means a lot to us that we’re helping organizations like It’s a Pet’s Place and Wildlife that are near and dear to our hearts,” Erba said.

Kara Falvey, OTS co-chair, said she was impressed with the turnout of the race.

“We’ve been doing this for twenty years, so it’s a big part of OTS. We’re all about philanthropy and helping out community.” Falvey said. “This is our biggest turnout with 150 runners, so we’re really excited about the growth.”

Rachel Hallman, student in veterinary medicine, said she was glad the race could improve her health and give back to the community at the same time.

“It’s perfect motivation, I think about even if I don’t perform well, I’m still helping someone,” Hallman said. “I’m not just running for my health but the health of others. Also, being in the fraternity, I have pride just being able to give back to our community.”

A second-time winner of the 5k, Michael Braun, a research specialist in the School of Social Work, said what the race lacks in competition, it makes up for in charity.

“I knew there was weak competition, because I’m not that fast. I was in the race last year and I don’t consider myself a runner, but I’m a big supporter of animal rights and animal welfare,” Braun said. “It matters a lot of it goes to a good cause.”

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