Leslye Hartsell on Race Against Racism

Hartsell is chair for the YWCA event. "We have made strides, but racism is still very prevalent."

Leslye Hartsell is Chair for the YWCA Race Against Racism.

What's the intent of the race?

Our main goal is to raise awareness of the YWCA and of discrimination. The proceeds will go to support the Y's women's victims advocacy program.

How many enter?

Last year we had over 400. This year our goal was to have over 500, and we're getting close to that number.

So the economy isn't affecting sign-ups?

No, thankfully, not this year anyway. We've got a lot more teams and sponsors involved than last year.

Do you get anyone in the 80-and-over prize category?

Yes, we do—surprisingly we do. We have at least a handful. Last year was my first year out there and I was surprised about that.

You ran in the race, too?

Yes, and I'm gonna do it again this year. I actually won in my age category.

Did you train for last year?

Not particularly for that race, but I do some running here and there. This year I'm leaving out to run in the Disney Marathon, and I've run some 5Ks and 10Ks.

Do you train independently?

I run on my own. I do that and some instructing at the Rush, as well.

Did anything amusing happen in last year's race?

Not funny, exactly. But I remember starting and going up the trail and a guy immediately started throwing up, and I thought, "What have I gotten myself in to?"

Do you get the people who say, "Why run against racism? We're done with all that"?

You do. We have made strides, but racism is still very prevalent. Whether we want to admit it or not, it's something that women and people of all races have experienced at some point. It's not just an African American issue.

YWCA Race Against Racism, January 17, Phyllis Wheatley Center, 124 S. Cruze St., ywcaknox.com