Annual 5K Race for Children Rescheduled for Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 13

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Efforts by GWU and Community Have Helped Rescue Seven Children Since 2016

A group of runners begin the Gardner-Webb Rescue Race 5K.BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A 5K race started in 2016 by Gardner-Webb University students has helped rescue seven enslaved children in Ghana, Africa. This year, the club organizing the Rescue Race is hoping the GWU community will raise enough funds to rescue four more children.

Previously scheduled for Sept. 15, the race has been postponed because of inclement weather from Hurricane Florence. The 5K will now be held during GWU Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 13 at 8 a.m.

“It takes almost $1,000 to rescue one child,” said Grace Lodholz, vice president of Release the Captives (GWU’s anti-human trafficking group). “One-hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to Challenging Heights, an organization in Ghana that rescues and rehabilitates children who are being trafficked in the fishing industry on Lake Volta.”

Lodholz, a senior nursing major, joined Release because she is passionate about helping those trapped in slavery. “Human trafficking is a rampant issue in our world and so many people aren’t aware of just how big the problem is,” she observed. “With awareness comes an overwhelming feeling—and anytime I can help facilitate a way for people to make a change—it is well worth my time.”

The club became connected with Challenging Heights through Mary Toohey, a GWU alumna who found out about the ministry on a service trip she took to Africa. The organization rescues the children and provides shelter, medical care and education while working to reunite them with their families. “Challenging Heights is an amazing organization that is really committed to tackling the issue of human trafficking from numerous angles, and we are so blessed to be a part of what they do,” Lodholz affirmed.

The race begins in the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center parking lot. The Boiling Springs Police Department will direct traffic to keep participants safe. The cost is $15 for GWU students and $20 for all others.

Registration prior to race day is available here. 

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 704-406-4253 or email with your request.

Challenging Heights works in the coastal communities of Ghana and with international coalitions of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) dedicated to fighting modern slavery and protecting children’s rights. Learn more at

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a place where Christian compassion meets critical thinking. A private, Christian, liberal arts university, Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective servant-leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at