Athletes from Khayelitsha and surrounding areas celebrated World Aids Day in style on Saturday 30 November by encouraging people to stay fit and healthy. The athletes took part in the Red Lace Race, a 5-kilometre fun run that started and ended at Luhlaza High School.The event was organised by various organisations including TB HIV Care, Khayelitsha Running Club, Khayelitsha Health Forum (KHF), Khayelitsha Athletic Club, Epilepsy SA, City of Cape Town, Government Communication and Information System, the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Africa, Western Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities and Parliament SA. Scores of seasoned and amateur runners took part in the second edition of the competition. TB/HIV Care communications officer Alison Best described the event as an awareness initiative to prevent and fight the stigma against HIV/Aids and TB. She said by organising a fun run they are encouraging the positive healthy living in the communities. She said the idea is to organise the event annually, but funding remains a challenge. Best said numbers increased drastically from the previous event. “The first time we had the event the numbers were so small but today people came in numbers,” she said. Best said they want to eliminate stigma associated with the pandemic which she said leads to defaulting of treatment. “Other people tend to be afraid of going to the clinic to fetch their medication or getting professional assistance. They are sceptical of asking for help,” she said, adding that people end up getting sick. KHF chair Mzwanywa Ndibongo described the event as a “great initiative” for Khayelitsha. “We are focusing on defeating the stigma by hosting an event about a healthy lifestyle which includes socialising, networking and physical fitness rather than speeches. Everyone can improve his or her lifestyle regardless of their status,” he said.First-time participant Buyiswa Nini (45) said it is important to eat healthy in order to build stronger bodies. She said she started training five years ago. “When I was 40 I noticed some changes in my body and I also gained some weight. Then, I started to train regularly to avoid diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure,” said Nini, adding that she took part in many other racing events including the Spar Women’s Challenge and Totalsports Women’s Race.