Helen Winzell

Wednesday afternoon the TeenStreet(TS) site turned into a colourful place as the sports zone swarmed with runners and supporters, some with painted faces, others wearing funny costumes and wigs, and yet others waving flags. The DJ playing music, and the people cheering and clapping their hands helped create a vibrant atmosphere. It was time for this year’s RAG (Raise and Give) race.

The crowd watching was supporting the 844 runners, splashing water on them and cheering to keep their spirit up. According to the runners this had a tangible effect: “The best thing about this is the atmosphere. The runners are giving their best,” said Joel (15, France).

Árant (17, Denmark) agreed: “The cheering is amazing, probably the best part.”

Aino (17, Finland) exclaimed, “It’s nice to be here in another country, and still everybody’s cheering.”

So those who didn’t run also played an important part. “The people really pushed you to go,” Rahel (18, Germany) said.

Most of the runners had sponsors. But even though Georgia (17, Ireland) had a sponsor, she also put money in herself: “It’s good that everyone is raising money for a good cause and getting some exercise at the same time. Everybody’s very encouraging, and that helps me keep going.”

Running in the middle of the summer is a sweaty business, and despite some clouds, it was a rather warm day. The RAG team and the sports team worked hard to provide the runners with water. “I ran alongside the lane with water bottles all the time”, Nelli in the RAG team reported. Fortunately, the medical team did not report any major incidents, even thought the race lasted for two hours.

Quite a few runners ran the whole time. One of the teens who kept running until the race ended was Ranvá (16, Faroe Islands). She ran “at least 15” laps, raising roughly 160 Euros per lap. “When you get money per lap, that inspires you to run more,” she stated. But she got to experience another kind of backing at the end of the race: “People started to run with me and encouraged me,” Ranvá said, thankful for the support.

All in all, the amount raised was 56,202 Euros—money that will bring hope for teenage refugees around Europe.