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5k Barefoot Run For Africa 2017

June 17th, 2017 HART held the Barefoot Run for Africa 5K at Lakeside Sports Park in Orem, Utah. This flat and fast course had lush green grass covering the complete run so even the most sensitive of feet could go without shoes! As always, shoes were optional for our runners.

It was a beautiful sunny day with blue skies and a mild breeze blowing from the east keeping the temperature just right for the 130 plus runners participating this year.

Following the format of previous races, the race was followed by muffins, fresh fruit and bottled water. As well, we had African drummers and dancers there to entertain the crowd. Besides awards for the top three finishers for the men and the women, we had a nice compliment of prizes to raffle off for all runners. 

New this year was a finisher’s medal for all who crossed the finish line. Complete results of the race were collected and are posted on www.runnercard.com. 

Our gratitude to the many volunteers who helped make this race happen. Once again, HART Board Member Ayisha Mitchell reached out to her running community for goods and services. A special thanks to Tim Roberry, cross-country coach at Utah Valley University for helping with the course layout. We were excited to have a professional announcer helping keep things on schedule and helping us warm up and cool down with toe-tapping race music. David Nuge, you are the best! Thanks for spending your Saturday morning with us and lending that talent.

We want to thank Boy Scout Ethan Lawrence for recruiting his family and fellow Scouts to help with setting up, running, and taking down the race event. Ethan is helping HART with collecting medical supplies and equipment, and gathering running shoes to be sent ahead of the November 2017 HART Medical Mission. This is Ethan’s Eagle rank service project.  

Remember, there will be a sister city race run in the town of Kukuom, Ghana on Saturday, November 25, 2017. Each of the hundred-plus entries made here in Orem, Utah sponsors a runner in this rural Ghanaian community. This includes awarding the same t-shirt to each runner there as was given to our runners here and a finisher’s medal. 

September 2016 Barefoot Run for Africa 5k Race in Kuokum, Ghana

On September 3rd, HART held the sister city race at the conclusion of its ten day surgical mission trip in Kuokum, Ghana. The race started approximate 5 kilometers outside of the village on the Gaoso-Bibiani Road and headed back north to the village center. Always to be outdone by our Ghanaian friends, they decided to make the course a bit longer. It wound up being 7 kilometers!

Being just north of the equator, the day was warm and very moist. But the sky was blue and the sun was shining. Many of the HART medical and volunteer team members ran this race with their newly found Ghanaian friends. As the photos attest, very few of our African runners had anything close to the semblance of a running shoe. This really was a “barefoot run in Africa!” What our friends lacked in proper running equipment was made up in sheer athletic prowess. All the top finishers were Ghanaians!  

The award ceremony was held at the tribal chief’s residence where t-shirts and prize money was presented to the top ten finishing places for men and top finishing placed for women.

June 2016 Barefoot Run for Africa 5k Race

On June 25th HART held its signature Barefoot Run for Africa 5K race. This year the race course was held on the old Cascade Golf Course property on 800 North in Orem, Utah. Todd Petersen, CEO of Vivant graciously allowed HART to use the property so a complete 5K course could be set up. This would allow any participant to be able to do as the Ghanaians do…run barefoot!

It was a beautiful sunny day for the race. Almost 100 runners showed up to run, jog, trot, and even walk the grassy course with shoes on or off. The figure eight shape course circled Foothill Elementary School play grounds then climbed uphill following the course holes that are on the north end of the old golf course. Once on top of the north end fairways, it was a nice downhill run out and around Palisade Park perimeter finishing where it all began at the Foothill Pak picnic pavilion.

HART Board Chairman, Kimball Crofts, MD, brought a nice display of Ghanaian and African art to display. Men from the Salt Lake Ghanaian community showed up with large drums and women from the same group demonstrated and taught traditional Ghanaian dances to any and all interested participants.

Perhaps the highlight of the event was when The Ghanaian community presented HART with a $1,000.00 check to help with the cost of surgical supplies for the upcoming September 2016 surgical mission trip.

Our many thanks and gratitude to Ayisha Mitchell, part of the Ghanaian community in Utah County, for helping organize and run this race. She tirelessly worked to find help from the running community for number bibs, a large blow up arch for designating the start and finish line, a timing system for the race, and fresh fruit and muffins for post-race refueling.  

Remember, there will be a sister city race run in the town of Kukuom, Ghana on Saturday, September 3rd. Each of the nearly 100 entries made here in Orem, Utah sponsors a runner in Kuokum This includes awarding the same t-shirt to each runner there as was given to our runners here.

We hope to have double or even triple the participants in 2017! Keep your eyes open for the date of the 2017 race on this website and running calendars around the state of Utah. 

October 2015 Pre-Mission Assessment Trip

Three HART Board members, Kimball Crofts, MD, Amy Kelly, RN, and Bryan Nichols, PharmD made a pre-mission trip to Ghana to assess the sites our contact, Honorable George Boakye, has investigated as wanting and deserving of our services.

The nine day trip, starting October 16th and ending October 25th, had the board members visiting the St. Elizabeth Catholic Hospital in Hwidiem, the St. John of God Catholic Hospital in Duayaw, and the newly constructed, yet to be furnished operatory attached to the medical inic in Kukuom.

The board members met with administration and medical staff for all three of these facilities. Tours were made of the buildings looking at the operating rooms, anesthesia machines, surgical instrument trays, x-ray and ultra-sound capabilities, and ancillary services and equipment relating to the desired focus of the mission planned for the fall of 2016.

The focus deemed most appropriate and urgent for the four areas of the  Brong Ahafo Region of north central Ghana for the 2016 mission are:

  1. Orthopedic surgery,
  2. General surgery focus on hernia repair,
  3. Obstetric-gynecology surgical services with a focus on hysterectomy, obstetric fistulas, and other female reproductive surgical services
  4. Pastic surgery for specific conditions related to continued Buruli Ulcer treatment, lipomas, severe keloid scarring, post-burn scarring and contracture release.

Included in the trip were additional visits to past clinics serviced by HART. The clinics were found to be still in operation. Also, particular emphasis was placed on the condition of the orphanage school facility at Jarekrom. It is the hope of the tribal leaders that HART can help find a benefactor to help finance the construction of a new school building.

The trip was very successful in assessing what was in place and what HART needs to focus on getting to have a successful surgical mission trip. The board members were in the company of Honorable George Boakye for the entire trip. Honorable lined up meetings with decision makers through the medical communities as well as chiefs and leaders at the local tribal level demonstrating the commitment and desire for these communities to have HART come and help serve the people in the Brong Ahafo Region.