Out of breath from running, I slowed down to a steady walk. I was halfway through the Trek Against Trafficking 5k and wasn’t sure if I had trained enough for this moment. My heart was pounding and I questioned if I’d be the last person to cross the finish line. Physically, I was tired and I wanted to quit. Mentally, I knew I couldn’t stop and had to keep going, but I needed something to hold onto to help me press forward. I thought about how I wanted to achieve this goal of running a 5k. I thought about my family who was rooting for me, but it wasn’t enough.
And then I realized what I had forgotten in that breathless moment: I was running for freedom.
Those that financially supported my race, the people cheering along the course, the volunteers who spent months preparing for this day - we were all in this together, fighting for freedom and doing our part to fight the epidemic of human trafficking.
In that moment, I was changed. It was no longer about me, my race, or even my ability to finish. It was about the difference I was making. Each step I took was a step for freedom. It was a step I was taking with the hope that it was one less step a trafficked child would be forced to take. As I crossed that finish line, I was tired, but filled with a reignited hope.
Two years from that unforgettable moment, I’m now in the role of race director for this year’s Trek Against Trafficking. It’s been an honor to oversee Love True’s largest event, especially since it was an event that changed me when I ran a few years ago. As the months go by and as we get closer to the race, I find that yet again, I’m being changed all over again. With each race registration I see, my heart leaps with joy because I believe that they too, will be changed during this race. It’s not just a one mile walk. It’s not just a 5k or 10k. It’s a powerful statement that we are aligning ourselves with freedom.
Being a part of our Trek Against Trafficking sends a message to survivors that we stand with them and support them. It shows those who feel trapped and wonder if they’ll ever make it out that we see their pain and are fighting for them. Lastly, it sends a very clear message to the evil around us that we won’t stay silent any longer.
We’re only two and a half months away from race day and I couldn’t be more excited to see how this year’s race will unfold. So many lives have been touched already through this race, and it’s only just the beginning.
On September 30th, 2017 in Duke Island Park in Bridgewater, NJ we will see hundreds of people come together to run for freedom. We’ll see moms pushing the strollers that their children are in, as they run the 5k. We’ll see dads cheering as they watch their littlest ones run in the children’s races. We’ll celebrate life and the beauty of freedom, and we’ll also run with a passionate hope to see trafficking ended in our lifetime.
Love True’s Trek Against Trafficking has been changing lives for the last 5 years and we would be honored to have you be a part of it. If you’ve run with us before, we hope to see your smiling faces running with us again. If you’ve never run before, I promise you that it will be life-changing, not only for you, but also for those you are running for.
Our Trek registration prices will be going up at the end of July, so be sure to sign up before then to lock in the best rate. By signing up early, you’re guaranteed a spot and a t-shirt to commemorate the day you ran for freedom.
Whether you walk with your family or run the longest distance we have this year, your very presence makes a difference.
Click here to sign up or donate today.
See you there!
Amanda Pietrocola is passionate about ending sex trafficking and has been a volunteer for Love True for the past four years. Earlier this year, she stepped into the role of race director for Love True. On her blog, HappilyMe23, she shares about 20-something life in an uplifting and "real talk" kind of way. She's also been a guest blogger on multiple blogs, most notably Jim Daly's blog, the President of Focus on the Family.