Ahmaud Arbery honored as thousands take part in 'Run with Maud' 5K

Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, spoke at the event.

May 6, 2023, 8:09 PM

Thousands of runners gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday for a 5K race to celebrate the life and legacy of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25 year-old Black man who was shot and killed while jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, in February 2020 in a racially motivated hate crime.

Nearly 4,000 runners took part in the "Run with Maud" 5K, which was organized by The Ahmaud Arbery Foundation and The Atlanta Track Club, and was attended by Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones.

"Ahmaud ran to feel free," Cooper-Jones, who founded the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation, said in a press release ahead of the event. "It is the goal of the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation for all people to enjoy running for their mental and physical health. The Run with Maud 5K will raise awareness for that vision and funding to provide mental health resources for Black boys."

The event took place two days ahead of what would have been Arbery's 29th birthday on May 8.

PHOTO: A painted mural of Ahmaud Arbery is displayed in Brunswick, Ga., May 17, 2020.
A painted mural of Ahmaud Arbery is displayed in Brunswick, Ga., May 17, 2020.
Sarah Blake/AP, FILE

On Feb. 22, 2022, a federal jury found Gregory McMichael, his son, Travis McMichael, and their neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, guilty on all counts in the Arbery hate crimes case.

Gregory McMichael chased Arbery with his son, Travis McMichael, after seeing Arbery jogging in their neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020. Travis McMichael fired the fatal shot.

Bryan, a neighbor of the McMichaels, joined the chase and recorded video of the incident.

The three were charged and found guilty in both federal and state court.

The McMichaels were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on the federal charges on Jan. 7, 2022, while Bryan was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

The three men were also found guilty on state hate crime charges and were sentenced to life in prison on Aug. 8, 2022. Bryan was sentenced to 35 years.

The three men filed appeals on March 3 against their hate crime convictions.

According to court documents obtained by ABC News, Gregory McMichael and Bryan argue that race did not factor into their decisions to chase and shoot Arbery. Meanwhile, Travis McMichael's appeal focuses on whether the streets where Arbery was shot were controlled by the county.

Arbery's murder sparked outrage and a racial reckoning across the United States.

"The Ahmaud Arbery 5K run represents a form of restorative Justice," Lee Merrit, the attorney for Arbery's family, told ABC News in a statement on Saturday.

Merritt added that the event, which is sponsored by Adidas, the Atlanta Run Club and the Grassroots Law Project, will help "secure the enduring legacy of Ahmaud Arbery" by providing an outlet for the community "to come together and discuss mental health, institutional racism and hope."

ABC News' Kiara Alfonseca, William Hutchison and Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.

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