The 5k raised money, but organizers also wanted to bring awareness to the issues facing those who are trying to leave polygamist communities. Since former FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs went to prison, the number of people fleeing to Holding Out Help has quadrupled. "We have whole entire families coming out, and many individuals. They aren't equipped to deal with the outside world," says Holding out Help Executive Director Tonia Tewell.
Most of the individuals who leave their polygamist community are lacking in education, job training, and basic life skills, according to Tewell. Because individuals are shunned if they decide to leave, they have no one to turn to.
"They don't know how to function in the real world. They don't know how to make their own choices because they have never had to face this. A lot of them don't even have a high school education."
Saturday's runners and volunteers say they are fighting for a cause that needs a voice especially here, in Utah, and the surrounding states. With approximately 40,000 polygamists living in the west, their need for outside support is growing.
"Everyone deserves a second chance and everyone deserves to experience life," says runner Ashely Maley.
Organizers were hoping to raise 15-hundred dollars with the 5k run. That money will go toward building homes, food, clothing and even job training for both families and individuals.