Continuing the trend started last year, this year’s charitable Ajvar 5K Run/Walk was not only held in Washington, D.C. for a second year in a row, but for the first time in two other cities – Ann Arbor, Michigan, and New York City. The three Ajvar 5Ks were able to bring in close to $8,000 in proceeds. Out of the proceeds raised, $6,000 will benefit the 11th October Orphanage in Skopje, Macedonia. In an effort for Americans of Macedonian heritage to give back to the local community, the Macedonian-American Student Associations will donate $2,000 raised from the Ann Arbor 5K toward the local Ann Arbor Ronald McDonald House to help children in need.
On September 8, 2013, marking the 22nd anniversary of Macedonia’s independence, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), in partnership with Ajvar, LLC, University of Michigan’s Macedonian-American Student Associations (MASA – Ann Arbor, and Dearborn Campuses), and Oakland University’s Macedonian-American Student Association, brought approximately 400 runners/walkers to these charitable events. Every runner/walker received a jar of Macedonia’s top export product and delicacy – Ajvar.
“We should never look down on someone, unless we’re helping them up,” said Beti Arsovska, co-founder of Ajvar LLC and organizer of Washington, D.C.’s Ajvar 5K Run/Walk. “I hope a lot of us will find goodness in our hearts and live by this quote, and see even more people joining us next year for this great cause to help orphans in Macedonia.”
“With everything going on in the world, the way for people to reach out to one another is by building bridges over their differences and uniting cultures, which is the purpose of this run/walk,” said Ashley Nestorovska, President of University of Michigan Ann Arbor’s Macedonian-American Student Association.
“Ajvar 5K is a fun event, using sports to bring together our people, friends of Macedonia, and people who do not know much about Macedonia. We hope the tradition continues and it will grow to span throughout the U.S., as well as in Canada and Australia where UMD has a base,” said Beti Papuckoska, organizer of New York City’s Ajvar 5K Run/Walk.
The youngest participants in the D.C. Ajvar 5K were the brothers Zachary (6) and Lucas (9) Randazzo. In the men’s category, Paul Lablines from Virginia was the first to finish in 18 minutes and second was Ben Danforth and third Ted Poulos. In the women’s category, Sakina Nixon finished the race in little over 22 minutes, and second was Rebecca Dickinson and third Jenna Covucci.
In the Ann Arbor Ajvar 5K, Fonzie MacDonald won first place, followed by second place Mikhail Ognenovski and third Vladimir Ognenovski. Voted the most spirited participant in the race was Ljubinka Georgievska.
In the NYC men’s category, Lenard Moxley, finished the race first in only 15 minutes and 40 seconds, and second was Zoran Lazarevski and third Charles Moxley. In the women’s category, Suzana Kotevski won first place, followed by second place Vesela Nikolovski and third Blaga Sekulovska.
“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to especially thank all the volunteers, which are the least noticed and most crucial part of Ajvar 5K. Ajvar 5K would also not be possible without the support of our many sponsors and donors. Shout outs go to the media who came to report about Ajvar 5K. And, last but not least, each and every runner/walker who came out to participate in Ajvar 5K.” said Bernard Pesjak, co-founder of Ajvar LLC and organizer of Washington, D.C.’s Ajvar 5K Run/Walk.
Special thanks go to the following sponsors and donors:
Washington, D.C. – Euro Foods from Alexandria, Gold’s Gym, Cosmopolitan Grill, Whole Foods, Silver Sponsors, Starbucks, Road Runner Sports, Matthew & Therese Mandina, Coco Fitness, racePacket, Road ID, Education Magazine, Balkanic Travel, Borne 2 Dance Studio, Riley Pesjak Richardson Fundraiser, Little River Yoga, Nova Foot and Anckle Center, and Candi Bryant Fundraiser.
Ann Arbor – Symposium Café, United Macedonian-Americans of Detroit, Bayco Management Company, Chubby Charlie’s Pizza, Brown’s Bun Bakery, RoadID, and Cambridge Cleaners.
New York City – Fast-Pak Trading, Inc., Balkanika Restaurant in Manhattan’s Midtown, West Village’s Olio e Piu restaurant, Whynot Coffee, Donka Ilieski Fundraiser, Ohrid Travel, RoadID, Lila Koloska and Dragi Korunoski, Lutz Dommel, Queen B, and Gabriela & Aleksandar Dimitrovi.
By visiting the following link you can access the results of the Ajvar 5K Run/Walk as well as pictures and media coverage: http://www.ajvar5k.com.
We are still accepting donations to help orphans in Macedonia.