Bethany community to reach out through Swazi 5K

     BETHANY, OK --- On October 10, Bethany First Church of the Nazarene (BFC) and Southern Nazarene University (SNU) will be hosting the Swazi 5k race to benefit ministry efforts in Swaziland.


“The Swazi 5k was a small idea to get people working toward a goal of walking or running and also to support an important cause. It has gone way beyond the original idea. We now have children, teenagers, and on up through the Senior Adults that will donate their time by running or even walking with their canes and walkers either outside on the streets of Bethany or inside on the track at the Sawyer Center of SNU. They might not ever be able to go to Swaziland, but they can walk here in Oklahoma and make a difference.   We have had tremendous support from corporate and private sponsors that have made it possible for the Swazi 5k to happen, as well as a great many people that have volunteered their time preparing for this event,” Karen Dedman, Swazi 5k race coordinator said. 

The event will include a one-mile fun run/walk beginning at 8:30 a.m. and a 5k-run/walk beginning at 9:00 a.m. The fun run/walk will take place in the SNU Sawyer Center, and the 5k run/walk will begin on the SNU campus at the corner of NW 39 and College Street and go through surrounding neighborhoods in Bethany. DG Productions and Champion Chip timing will determine final race times for participants. 

Preregistration for the 5k is $20 and $25 the morning of the race.  Pre-registration for the one-mile fun run/walk is $15 and $20 the morning of the race. Pre-registered groups of ten or more will receive a $5 per person discount. 

Participants also have the opportunity to earn personal scholarships to sponsor an individual or personally be a part of a future GO (Global Outreach) team to Swaziland by documenting their cumulative mileage from the 30 days prior to the race and obtaining pledge donations per mile from private individuals. 

“We are hoping that the Swazi 5k will not only raise funds for volunteer scholarships and water projects but also will raise the awareness of Swaziland and the critical situation that the people are in due to AIDS/HIV. This is just one small way of spreading the important mission of the Swaziland Partnership to our community,” Dedman said.

Runners are encouraged to come early to enjoy the atmosphere and show support for ministry efforts in Swaziland. The event will include an expo with music, sponsor, tables, vendors, and drawings throughout the morning. 

“SNU Residence Life & Intramurals are teaming together to volunteer at stations throughout the race.  We will be doing things like manning water stations, encouraging runners, guiding runners, helping at registration, and any other task that needs to be done. We also have several students participating in the 5k!” Katy Bradley, SNU Student Resident Director, said. 

All net proceeds will go toward ministry efforts in Swaziland including community water, education, compassion, and construction projects. 

“Seeing the sweet faces of the people of Swaziland brings tears to my eyes as they have next to nothing, yet they are smiling and praising Jesus.  One out of five children are orphans, and it is estimated that close to half of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS.  We are the church, and God has called us to reach out. This is just one of the countless ways we can do that.  If we as Christ followers are not willing to help, support, encourage, love, and reach out to the Swazis, who will?  This is an opportunity to put our words into action and serve others,” Bradley said. 

“We are anticipating several hundred participants or more. God has done some incredible things through the Swaziland Partnership, way beyond what we could have dreamed, so we have great expectations for the event. With two weeks to go, we have already had a lot of people registering. For most runs, the majority of participants register in the last few days. We are really excited to see what is going to happen and know it will be a fun and meaningful time for all who participate. The people of Swaziland have walked for miles to come for help from the compassion, construction and medical global outreach (GO) teams from The Swaziland Partnership. The least we can do for them is walk or run on Saturday morning, October 10, 2009,” Dedman said. 

More information & Internet registration is available at and will close at midnight on Thurs, Oct 8. A Swazi 5k t-shirt is guaranteed for participants who sign up by October 5. 

The Swazi 5k will be a way for Bethany and the surrounding area to give to those in need while growing together as a community.