ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Maps convey just how bizarrely divided some voting districts are in the United States, but physically putting people onto the line brings a whole new aspect to the problem of gerrymandering.
"Why not make the district line a race course and have people out there on it so they can see and experience the problem?’” artist and documentarian John Kennedy told Runner's World. “I thought that was brilliant.”
Kennedy's wife Cinnamon came up with the idea for Saturday's 5,000-meter race in Asheville, North Carolina, after the state's controversial "bathroom bill" passed last year.
“I saw how district borders were affecting our ability to make laws,” Kennedy said. “I was so mad that I couldn’t even find out who my representative was to write to them.”
Kennedy told Runner's World that proceeds from the $20 entry fee would go toward preparing for another race before the 2018 fall election and to fund local and state efforts in gerrymandering education.
“The running community is a very active and aware community,” Kennedy said. “It would make sense that runners want to run this route and draw attention to these issues. I hope this leads … to getting people out there walking and running their congressional borders and making politicians see that this isn’t right. That’s what can create change.”
About 250 people registered to run the race, about 100 more than expected, Upworthy reports. The League of Women Voters of Asheville-Buncombe County sponsored the event.