Athletic training group completes relay in record time

The Run for Research participants gather at WCU’s E.J. Whitmire Stadium shortly after finishing their 175-mile trek.

Students and faculty members from Western Carolina University’s athletic training program finished the 2012 Mountain Jug Run for Research in record time, completing the 175-mile relay run from Boone to Cullowhee in 29 hours, 9 minutes and 17 seconds.

The fifth annual fundraising effort began in the early morning hours Friday, Oct. 12, at Appalachian State University’s football stadium and ended at WCU’s E.J. Whitmire Stadium around 10:45 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13. This year’s contingent of 19 WCU runners beat the previous low time set by last year’s group by almost three minutes, said James Scifers, professor of athletic training and director of WCU’s School of Health Sciences.

Named in honor of “The Battle for the Old Mountain Jug,” the annual football rivalry game between WCU and ASU, the relay is organized to raise funds for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s Research and Education Foundation, which awards research grants and academic scholarships in the field of sports medicine.

The course was run as a continuous relay, with each of the runners completing five legs in five-mile increments and with two or three runners on the road at any given time. The group this year included Scifers and two other faculty members – Rob Dingle and Jill Manners – plus juniors Kelly Hoots, Aaron Marshall, John Marshall and Sarah McNamara; sophomores Daniel Carr, Carolina Chambers, Sarah Gilleland, Andrew Godinez, Meka Hoover, Elena Keretses, Brittany Price, Megan Mastro, Corey Smith and George Stiak; and freshmen Jennifer Longo and Christy Poole.

Scifers said the runners experienced some minor injuries, sore muscles and damaged toenails. “Many of our runners overcame mental and physical challenges beyond what they could have ever imagined,” he said. “That’s the beauty of this event. Everyone can be proud of their accomplishments.”

Donations honoring the group’s effort will be accepted until the end of the fall semester and may be made in the form of checks, made payable to the NATA-REF, and sent to Jill Manners, WCU Health and Human Sciences Building, Office 362, 4121 Little Savannah Road, Cullowhee, N.C. 28723. All donations to the foundation are tax-deductible.

The participant’s impressions of this year’s Mountain Jug Run for Research can be found at the blog