Inaugural Race Promotes Importance of Physical Fitness in Marginalized Communities

Proceeds from the event will benefit the John Cain Foundation.

members of the John Cain Foundation hold signs for the Arkansas Rasta 5K
Photo courtesy of the John Cain Foundation.

Physical fitness is an important piece of holistic health for Coffy Davis who participates in a variety of activities like yoga, zumba, cycling and running. Davis increased her exercise routine in recent years and also has observed a surge in physical fitness activities in central Arkansas.

“Especially in marginalized communities a lot of people are starting to get out more and doing more physical fitness,” she says.  

Davis will help promote the importance of physical activity as race director for the inaugural Arkansas Rasta 5K Fun Run/Walk and Reggae Jam Down Saturday in North Little Rock. 

Proceeds will benefit the John Cain Foundation, whose mission is to “uplift people of color by providing resources, inspiration and solutions that promote their well-being economically, culturally, morally and spiritually.” The nonprofit was established in 2015 and participates in community engagement activities like a feed the homeless campaign and back-to-school drives.

Following the race, the Reggae Jam Down will feature live reggae music, fitness demonstrations, a kids corner, food and local vendors. The event lasts until 3 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Registration is required for the race. This year’s motto, One Love, One Race, represents a “mission to unite all, promote diversity and inclusion, and create a positive atmosphere with a fun healthy alternative,” according to event organizers.

The goal of the new event is to help combat lifestyle diseases that affect marginalized groups. The health disparities that exist among communities of color became very apparent during the pandemic, so Davis says they’re hoping to improve some of those outcomes by “encouraging people to get out here and make physical fitness a part of their everyday lives” and showing them exercise can be fun.

Check-in for the inaugural Arkansas Rasta 5K Fun Run/Walk begins at 7 a.m. Saturday at North Little Rock Riverfront Park. The race begins at 9 a.m. near Willow Street and Riverfront Drive. Registration is $20, but children 12 and younger are free with an adult. Leashed pets are welcome.

Registration and more information can be found on the John Cain Foundation website.

Antoinette Grajeda
Antoinette Grajeda

Antoinette Grajeda is an Arkansas-based journalist. She has covered race, culture, politics, health, education and the arts for NPR affiliates as well as print and digital publications since 2007.