Race to Equality 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and 54-mile challenge returns to make a difference and unite for change

January 19, 2021

Race to Equality honors MLK in its 2nd year.

Portland, OR The virtual Race to Equality Walk/Run was launched in 2020 with a mission to do something tangible, positive and impactful to reduce racial inequality in our community. In its inaugural year, the event had 346 participants and raised over $5000 for educational scholarships for local youth of color. In it’s 2nd year running from February 1st – 28th, participants can run or walk any of the distances anywhere whether solo or with a small group of family or friends. This year the SWAG honors Martin Luther King and his legacy and the event producers hope to double their numbers and fundraising efforts and have added a few extras to the event in 2021.

Karissa Schoene, Race Director for Why Racing Events, explains “We are so excited to announce that not only will our athletes be able to participate in a 5K, 10K or a Half Marathon but we’ve added a new event, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic March – 54 Mile Challenge.” The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail was established by Congress in 1996 to commemorate the events, people, and route of the 1965 Voting Rights March in Alabama. It took Martin Luther 5 days to march 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery, AL. Schoene says that “athletes can complete the distance in 5 days as MLK did or they have the entire month to complete the distance and follow in his footsteps. It will make the event so special this year and will remind us how far we’ve come and yet, there’s still progress to be made.”

Athletes can also complete the Half Marathon challenge which involves them competing the 13.1 mile distance over a number of days versus all at once. Schoene encourages “we like to provide as many opportunities as possible for our athletes to challenge themselves and not everyone can do 13.1 miles all at once. Doing a half marathon over a few days or a week or longer is more manageable for more people and we want to inspire people to go for it!”

Sherri McMillan, founder of Why Community, reports that “in 2020, we had 28 kids participate in the event. We would like to get hundreds more so kids can be active, learn about the history of MLK and be a part of raising funds for such an important cause. We want kids to learn at an early age that we can be the change and we can make a difference together.” Kids 12 and under can do the 5K for free and 13-17 years can participate for 50% off. “It’s a great family event and even though we won’t all be together physically, we will be together in spirit as we raise awareness for racial inequality and raise funds for scholarships for local young adults of color” McMillan says.

$10 from each registration will go to Portland Chapter of Links – a non-profit, local organization who provide scholarships to Vancouver and Portland youth of color. Brianna McMillan, 20 years old and in her 2nd year of university at WSU Vancouver was personally impacted by the organization and was moved to pay it forward. “A scholarship could be life-changing for someone who perhaps couldn’t afford to go to university. Education is the key to opportunity, and I feel really good about this organization and what they do for African American youth right here in our community. Last year, I had been going to the protests in Portland and I was inspired and wanted to do something tangible. We will actually be able to see the students who are awarded scholarships because of our efforts. It always feels good when you can see how your donations are being used.”

Participants will receive an official Race to Equality long sleeve tech finishers’ shirt, big medal bling, BUFF (which can be used as a mask) and Bib, all honoring MLK’s image and legacy.

Athletes are encouraged to set up a fundraising page to boost donations. Schoene states “We will donate $10 per athlete plus the additional peer-to-peer fundraising can really add up to a very big donation!”

WHAT: Virtual Race to Equality 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and 54 mile Challenge – Distances are completed on your own from Feb 1st – 28th, 2021 You can do it from home, on a treadmill, a local trail, or your favorite running route. You send in photos, videos and results and you receive a medal, bib, long sleeve tech finisher’s shirt, buff and bag full of goodies. If you are not local, all items will be shipped to you.

WHEN:  Feb 1st-28th, 2021

WHO: YOU! Anyone from anywhere can do this event since it is virtual. Please share with all your friends and family near and far who are also passionate about equality for all.

WHERE:  Your favorite location

HOW: Here is the website link for registration and more details:


WHY? It’s clear that so much progress has been made over the last years and decades…We have had a black president, the most powerful position in the world and that is a clear example that we are moving in the right direction. With that said, racism exists…We’ve all either seen it, heard it, or experienced it. Some racism is blatant and in your face and much of it, is under the radar and subtle repression that makes it more difficult for people of color…it’s not a level playing field and we would love for us to continue moving forward together. So that’s it…deep issues and at Why racing, we’re going to do our part in a very simple way that points us in the right direction.


About Why Racing Events:

Why Racing Events is a multi-sport event management organization that offers athletes of all ages and abilities, from the elite level to the back-of-the-packers, the chance to successfully complete a racing event. They host a series of events throughout Washington and Oregon, including children’s races, fun runs, trail runs, half marathons, marathons, duathlons and triathlons. Their races vary in size from 1000 to 5000 participants. They are committed to providing a positive experience to everyone involved while raising awareness and funds for important community causes. Find out more information about Why Racing Events at https://whyracingevents.com/


Contact Information
Karissa Schoene