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Teaming up for humanitarian work

MENUKA THAPA (center back) and her organization, Rahksha Nepal (Protection Nepal) helps children born into brothels and gives them housing and a new life.

MENUKA THAPA (center back) and her organization, Rahksha Nepal (Protection Nepal) helps children born into brothels and gives them housing and a new life.

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Destination Races and the Wine Country Half Marathon Series, has expanded its footprint around the globe through an innovative partnership with Climbers for Peace and Bob Guglielmino of Humanitarian Adventure Treks.

The Sonoma-based company’s popular running series currently consists of seven events held in iconic wine regions in both the United States and Canada. Since its inception in 2004, Destination Races has delivered world-class wine and culinary-themed running events responsible for raising over $17 million for various nonprofit organizations in North America.

In the past year, nearly 3,000 moisture-wicking lightweight shirts have been donated to Humanitarian Adventure Treks, who in turn distributes them on philanthropic adventures to global organizations. These colorful race shirts are imprinted with the race posters and event logos from artists such as Jean-Pierre Got of Bordeaux, France and Patti Britton of Sonoma.

Victims of the Philippines hurricane received 500 shirts, while Rahksha Nepal (Protection Nepal), a program benefiting children born into brothels, received 200 shirts. Luda Melnik (Children’s Alpinist Federation) of the Ukraine received over 400 shirts for a women’s center in the city of Cherkassy.

New shirts were also distributed to a Ghana children’s art program, two children’s projects in Brazil, orphan homes in Costa Rica, a Rwanda rebuilding program and Becoming Independent, an advocacy group for the developmentally disabled.

Children from Syrian child refugee camps will soon be receiving shirts, as will village children in Ostinol, Costa Rica, home of the national wildlife preserve for Ridley turtles.

“While Destination Races always welcomes the opportunity to benefit regional, national and community organizations, this is the first time we have taken on a global philanthropic initiative,” said Destination Races founder and president Matt Dockstader.

The flagship event in the Wine Country Half Marathon Series is the Napa-to-Sonoma event scheduled for July 20. The sold-out race brings thousands of runners and wine enthusiasts from around the world to the region for wine and food themed activities built around the half marathon and GunBunFunRun 5K. An estimated $2.5 million will be raised at this event for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, with additional donations allocated to locally based organizations including Hanna Boys Center and Save Our Sports of Sonoma.