DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — On Sunday, runners and walkers in Durham were given three goals: get exercise, make new friends and have fun at the second annual Unity Run. It’s a run/walk hosted by Together We Stand, where participants are encouraged to not just get their steps in, but to also meet strangers.
“Sometimes you have to talk to people to understand what they’re about, and sometimes we have opinions about people that we don’t really know,” Tyrone Irby, the founder of Together We Stand, said.
The run was organized by the group and their partners. It kicked off Ponysaurus Brewing in Durham just after 10 a.m. as runners were given the challenge to find someone to run or walk with that they’ve never met before.
“Find someone you don’t know, say, ‘Hey, how are you doing? Welcome to the Unity 5k,’ stuff like that,” Irby said.
After the 5k, runners and walkers were invited back to Ponysaurus Brewing to continue those conversations and enjoy some brews. Run organizers say it’s all about inclusivity in a world where it’s easy to keep strangers at an arm’s distance.
“Over the last three to five years, the world has changed,” Irby said. “It’s important for everybody to sit down and learn about each other, and not assume things about each other.”
The run isn’t just a Durham 5k. Together We Stand took the run to Charlotte, Greensboro and Fayetteville. But being back in Durham, where the group was founded, was special.
“Durham is a very diverse community, and I think we all have to get along, we’re all human beings, that’s the bottom line,” Irby said.
The run was put on by Together We Stand and their partners, but it also benefits Equality NC, who aims to make everybody throughout the state feel included.