Athletics training program plans ‘Mountain Jug Run’

The Western Carolina University athletic training education program will take part in the second annual Mountain Jug Run for Research on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 14-15.

The run will begin on the WCU campus on Saturday morning and end on the campus of Appalachian State University on Sunday afternoon. The run, named in honor of the annual football rivalry between the two institutions, is organized to raise funds for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s Research and Education Foundation, a nonprofit corporation that annually awards research grants and academic scholarships in the field of sports medicine.

This year’s run is being held the week before the football game in an attempt to capitalize on better weather conditions, said Jay Scifers, head of the WCU athletic training education program. The inaugural run, from Boone to Cullowhee, featured single-digit temperatures and snow for much of the first 100 miles of the event. Last year’s run yielded more than $3,300 in donations and made WCU’s gift to the foundation the largest of any student organization in the country.

Runners in the event include program faculty, clinical instructors and undergraduate students. In addition to teaching the students about the value of philanthropy, the event provides a service learning opportunity in the areas of injury prevention, proper nutrition and hydration, as well as management of environmental conditions in athletics, Scifers said.

The 175-mile course will be run as a continuous relay, with each runner completing five legs of the run in five-mile increments. Participants, many of whom had never run more than one mile prior to signing up for the event, began training for the run in August. The group, which has logged more than 300 miles per runner in preparation for the event, meets four mornings a week to complete training runs ranging from three to 12 miles in length.

The group has established a 2009 goal of raising $2,000 for the Research and Education Foundation. Donations to the run may be made in the form of checks payable to the NATA-REF, and sent to faculty member Jill Manners at 134 Moore Hall, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C., 28723. All donations to the foundation are tax-deductible.

For more information, contact the athletic training program at (828) 227-2147.