Race to Celebrate Africa Day

Participants racing at the Africa Day 5K

The Tallahassee African Coalition organized the 4th annual Africa Day 5K Race on Saturday at Tom Brown Park, commemorating the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as Africa Union.

Africa Day is celebrated on May 25 of each year. The OAU was founded in 1963, bringing together 53 African-member states on common concerns of the continent.

The event consisted of two races, a one mile and a five kilometer. Participants can walk or run the race and the first three to cross the finish line will be recognized.

Dan Oronje, the event planner for the race, believes that the increase in participants since its first race in 2012 has been a great accomplishment.

“It is quite a success compared to the first run in which we had less than 20 people,” said Oronje. “The second one I think we had 23 or 24, the third one we had 43 or something, and today I’m supposing we probably have at least more than 60.”

The event caught the attention of influential organizations and leaders in the community such as Courtney Atkins, executive director of Whole Child Leon.

“We have a group of young kids that live on the southside of town that are in what we call the South City Multisport Club and we’re always looking for opportunities for them to train,” said Atkins.

Atkins partnered with Gulf Winds Track Club and Titus Sports to create the club.

The goals of the TAC was not just a day of sport and commemoration. The organization strives to serve the Tallahassee community and establish a network base with the African Union.

Anthony Ananga, President of the Tallahassee African Coalition, said eventually they intend to invite representatives from the Africa Union to come to the event and celebrate with them.

The Coalition would use that time to express their concerns and opinions on matters within the states of Africa.

“We think that if we have a strong coalition here we can have a voice to say something in Africa,” said Ananga.

The Coalition will continue to strive to gain more publicity for the race. They plan to expand the celebration into an all-day event, teaching more about the states and countries of Africa.

“We have to find an activity that will pull people. The moment you say it’s just Africans celebrating Africa Day then you’ll get Africans. You will not reach out,” said Oronje.