How this race was born

On October 23, 2019, my husband and I gave birth to our stillborn daughter, Hannah. She had died 2 days before at 29 weeks gestation. I only knew two people – in my 31 years — who had experienced this before. But since then, I have watched many untold stories come into the light.

Why the silence? 
1 in 4
women experience miscarriage. 1 in 160 experience stillbirth. And 1 in 8 experience infertility. These numbers are staggering, and these women are all around us – in our places of work, our neighborhoods, churches and families. Somewhere along the way, there has been a sad silence surrounding the grief that comes with these realities.

Is there something wrong with us? With our bodies? Pregnancy is supposed to be so natural. But we can see now, with more clarity than ever, that every life born into this world is an absolute miracle.

12.5%

INFERTILITY

1 in 8 women

25%

MISCARRIAGE

1 in 4 women

1%

STILLBIRTH

1 in 160 women

For those of us whose pregnancies ended before we could bring home our babies, it’s difficult to find ways to honor those precious lives. Many of us want to keep their memories alive, but the world around us keeps moving, leaving us alone in our grief. A lifetime seems like an impossible time to wait, but until we meet again, we will honor the life they had – in the womb or in the far-too-few moments on this earth.

We have learned that beauty will rise out of the ashes as we allow their significant lives – no matter how short – to have an eternal impact.

“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” – Isaiah 61:3

memorial candles

What to expect

Each year, our hope is that this race will be a place to remember and acknowledge every woman who longs to be a mother and every life gone too soon. Our race consists of both a competitive 5k run or an interactive 3k walk. The interactive element has markers every kilometer representing countless negative pregnancy tests, miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss.

Competitive 5k
The route is mostly flat through a residential neighborhood. Roads will not be closed, so please be cognizant of driveways and neighborhood traffic. We will have a security vehicle at the front leading the runners. The route is 2 loops, with the second slightly shorter than the first. Please look for way-finding signs and volunteers to help direct you throughout the route. Awards will be given to top 3 finishers in each age category.

Interactive walk
Along the route – at the different markers – you will see tables with candles and signs representing the stage of pregnancy. If you are walking in memory of a child gone too soon or a couple who longs to be parents – write the family name or the child’s name on a lantern and light a candle in his/her memory. We will release the lanterns at the end of the night. Many parents grieve these various losses in isolation, unsure of how to feel and unaware of shared experiences in their community. Our hope is that this race will be a tangible picture of those affected by this type of loss.

Race details

WHEN

October 23, 2021
6:30 p.m. Race Start
This is the 2-year anniversary of Hannah’s birth.

WHERE

East City Church
6850 Monroe Rd., Charlotte, NC 28212
East Mecklenburg High School has given us permission to park in the single row closest to the church. There are 90 parking spots in this row. The race will begin and end in the Church parking lot behind the church. Bathrooms are accessible in the church.

REGISTRATION

Entry fees:
$30 before Aug. 1
$35 before Oct. 1
$40 before Oct. 21
$45 on race day
Children under 10 may participate for free in the 3k interactive event.

$30 for the virtual race component

We will have a 5k competitive race, a 3k interactive walk, and a virtual option for anyone who cannot attend the race but would still like to participate and receive a t-shirt. All ages and levels welcome!

CLOSING CEREMONIES, 8-9 p.m.

At the conclusion of the race, we will recognize top 3 finishers, male and female, in each age category for the competitive 5k and virtual run. We will also hear from a few speakers about their personal experience with pregnancy loss, early infant loss, and infertility. We hope this will be a sweet time to come together as a community and support each other as we remember the significant lives of those we’ve lost. We encourage all participants to stay for this part of the event. We will also stream it live on Facebook for virtual runners.

ROUTE

The route will begin and end at East City Church, and weave throughout the McClintock Woods neighborhood. Racers will not go on any major roads. Neighborhood roads will not be closed, so please be cautious of residential traffic.

Registration is now open!

THANK YOU, SPONSORS!

DONATION BENEFICIARY

Proceeds from this event will go to Caleb Ministries — a counseling and support organization for families who have experienced pregnancy and early infant loss.

$1,000 will be donated to Out of the Ashes, Inc. to cover expenses of our annual Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Gift Program. The rest will go directly to Caleb Ministries.