Two and a half years ago, someone proposed that we host a running event to fundraise for our new foundation. As a
non-runner, I was quite intimidated by the idea. I had never even been to a race and had no idea how to organize such an event. But I knew that we needed to find a source of funding for our Financial Assistance Program and was willing to give it a try.
The first step was to decide the type of race it should be. We knew that we wanted our event to be different from the many other races that fill the Baton Rouge race calendar. We discussed several different ideas but kept coming back to the phrase “running for the 1 in 4.” Then, it clicked! A Quarter Marathon! It was perfect – a non-traditional distance that held significant meaning, representing the 25% of pregnancies that end in loss. And so a dedicated team of volunteers (lovingly referred to as the Q Crew) got to work. Many hours were spent figuring out just how to pull off this feat, but every day saw pieces falling into place. I’ll never forget my joy when we reached 50 registrants. I turned to my husband and said, “There’s no going back now! We have runners!”
In the end, more than 320 runners registered for our inaugural event; and the next year saw continued growth with almost 400 runners. As we welcome 2018, we look forward to the 3rd Annual Anna’s Grace Quarter Marathon and all the promise that it brings.
As mentioned earlier, the Quarter Marathon provides important funding for the Anna’s Grace Financial Assistance Program. In 2017, more than one hundred local families received assistance with burial and grave marker costs as they said goodbye to their little ones through the program. This number has dramatically increased in the last six months, and the foundation anticipates that it will continue to grow. With another 100+ requests for assistance anticipated in the new year, the need for another successful event is clear.
To get us started, we are hosting a Kickoff Celebration on January 14th at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library starting at 2:30 p.m. Join us to find out more about Anna’s Grace Foundation and how you can make a difference through the Anna’s Grace Quarter Marathon (running not required!) Volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the foundation or the running event and will offer many option on how you can get involved in our mission. Register for the race, create a fundraising team, or sign up to become an Anna’s Grace volunteer. We gladly welcome your participation! Be sure to stay up-to-date on the kickoff celebration by following our event page on Facebook.
As always, our running event will feature a Quarter Marathon distance (6.55 miles) representing the 1 in 4 who experience pregnancy and infant loss and a 1 Mile Fun Run. And we have exciting news for 2018! We are introducing a new distance – a 5K! Each race will offer chip timing for those looking for a little competition and will wind down peaceful River Road which offers a flat course - perfect for setting a new PR. With awesome finish line medals for each race, awards, a Children’s Village, and a festive Finish Line Party offering live music, food and beverages, the Anna’s Grace Quarter Marathon offers something for everyone! For more details, I invite you to visit www.annasgrace.org/race-details.
But the Anna’s Grace Quarter Marathon is more than just a race. It’s a celebration of the impact each baby’s life has on our hearts. It’s a day of hope for those who feel alone in their sorrow. It’s a safe place to acknowledge our babies out loud surrounded by others who understand.
In the coming weeks, be sure to stay connected to our social media pages and our blog where special stories from the 1 in 4, messages from our runners, and updates from our teams will be shared as we prepare for our biggest fundraiser of the year. You can find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AnnasGraceQuarter, and our blog is located on our website, www.annasgrace.org.
We look forward to seeing you in March as we once again run for the 1 in 4!
Monica R. Alley
Executive Director/Co-Founder, Anna's Grace Foundation