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Jun 17, 2014

It’s 10 a.m. on Father’s Day. There’s a sight one doesn’t see very often at Prospect Park, Brooklyn: the Finnish flag, waving in the warm summer wind. Around the flag there are Finns, who live in the area of New York and locals, who have Finnish relatives. There are people, who just happen to like the Finns and the Finnish culture and also some people, who know nothing about Finland, but who still want to participate in the Finland Center Foundation’s Midsummer 5K Run for charity.

Five kilometers is run in sunny weather. The age difference between the first and the third crossing the finish line is approximately 37 years, which really portrays the nature of the event. After the race participants enjoy Nordic Breads’ Finnish Rye Bread sandwiches covered with Finlandia cheese. The prizes for the top three of men’s and women’s series were gift cards sponsored by Marimekko and Karhu, and also a book by Leena Lehtolainen. All 34 runners received a t-shirt, Lumene and L’Oreal cosmetics and discount coupons for New York Running Company and Karhu. The gift card for Sockerbit was also raffled among the runners.

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At the end of the day the most valuable prize every runner and organizer received was a good feeling. All the Finns and the Finnish-minded people at the race got a chance not only to meet each other, but also to do some international good, thus the proceeds of the race are used to support Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace. FCF’s president Jaana Rehnstrom has only one wish for the next year’s race: “Everyone bring one more friend with you!”

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