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A Good Cause: Join Charity Run, Boost Downside Up Fundraiser

Participants at last year’s run

Ksenia Chernyavskaya is the fundraising manager for Downside Up, a Russian charity providing support for children and families affected by Down syndrome. The charity also works toward raising public awareness of Down syndrome with the aim of changing attitudes. As part of their efforts, Downside Up will host a charity run on Saturday, May 26, in the Botanical Gardens of the Academy of Sciences.

Q: Charity runs are less popular in Russia than elsewhere in Europe. Why did you choose to raise money this way?

A: Charity runs are such a great idea. We have five-kilometer and 10-kilometer routes for our serious runners. But we also decided to include a 1-kilometer race that will be suitable for everybody. There aren't too many serious runners in Russia, but there are plenty of people who like to jog.

Q: Who do you expect to take part in the race?

A: Anyone from the age of 14 can compete, and younger children can enter a small 50-meter race. We've had international competitors before: people from Britain, Italy, Poland and other countries. Some Russian champion runners will also be attending and running alongside the 1-kilometer runners to show that they support our charity and hopefully their presence will help to attract people to the sport.

Q: Why should people take part?

A: You will spend a wonderful day outdoors with your friends or family, and you'll be energized by what you do. After the run you could have a picnic in the Botanical Gardens. It will be a nice way to demonstrate that you care about raising money for charity and for children with Down syndrome.

Q: What will the money raised from the race be used for?

A: The money will be used to fund our Early Intervention Program. We don't have consistent government support and rely heavily on donations.

The race takes place on May 26. Moscow Botanical Gardens, Academy of Sciences. Metro Botanichesky Sad. Sponsorship fee is 500 rubles ($17). For more information and to register visit www.en.downsideup.org/run.php. Online entry closes Fri. 25. Runners can enter on race day but will not receive a timer chip.

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