Thursday, September 30, 2010

We ARE Running. Are You?

By Lisa Patterson

I am not a runner, but I do love a good race. And the 4.NINER K is a great race.

Last year more than 600 people battled inclement weather to get a little exercise and raise funds for need-based student scholarships. The second annual 4.NINER K run/walk is scheduled for Oct. 23, and it’s conceivable that 600 people and then some will be participating. I hope so.

The race is a well-organized affair, and the course is simply beautiful. In fact, the scenery is a great distraction for a non-runner like me…takes the mind off of the burning lungs. Last year, the pre-race atmosphere was festive, the coffee hot, and the good will palpable. It’s safe to expect an even better event this year.

The race was created as a direct response to challenges brought on by the economic recession. Unfortunately, things haven’t changed much since 2009 in terms of financial aid — less financial aid is available to students in need even as UNC Charlotte’s enrollment increases. Sometimes $100 can mean the difference between staying in school and dropping out.

Several of the students who benefited from the more than $27,000 raised in 2009 have since shared their stories with race organizers – the scholarships they received allowed them to stay in school, and they are sincerely grateful. That knowledge might be the motivation I need during the last leg of the race course.

So, I hope you will join me and my teammates Oct. 23 for what promises to be a great race for a great cause. We’re on team “We ARE Running” – and we’ll likely be doing a lot of walking.

I am not a runner, but I am a supporter of education and need-based scholarships.

For more information about the 4.NINER K or to register, visit

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Lisa Patterson is senior writer in the Office of Public Relations

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