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About 300 people participated in the third annual Michael K. Hooker Memorial 5K Run/Walk to raise money for UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Hooker 5K was started two years ago to raise money for cancer research just after the death of former UNC chancellor Michael Hooker, who succumbed to non-Hodgkins lymphoma in June 1999. This year, the Carolina Cancer Focus for the first time joined the Carolina Athletic Association in sponsoring the run, which organizers said they hoped would boost participation.

Two years ago, the first year of the race, about 500 students participated, but last year only 200 students ran. "This was a rebuilding year -- we're almost back to the point they were at the first year, right after Michael Hooker passed away," said CAA President Reid Chaney. Chaney said this year's race raised about $4,000.

Money also was raised from the sale of more than 700 hundred shirts. But raising funds was only one goal of the run. "It's not only the money but also awareness," CAA Vice President Jon Kanipe said. "It's a reminder to all of us to give as much as we can to see cancer done away with."

Originally the event was scheduled for Sept. 15, but members of the CAA and CCF decided to postpone it after the terrorist attacks earlier that week.

Organizers said they were concerned that changing the date would reduce the number of participants.

But CCF President Erica Simon said that in spite of such apprehensions, more people committed to running after the change.

Tony Waldrop, vice chancellor for research and graduate studies and a former UNC track runner, gave a brief speech before beginning the race. The runners started north of Carmichael Auditorium on South Road, raced around Gimghoul Road, breezed by the Bell Tower and, after a quick run by the Old Well, returned to enjoy bagels and bottles of water outside Carmichael Auditorium.

The first place prize of two Duke-UNC basketball tickets went to UNC junior John Paul Igoe, who ran the 5K in a time of 16:52 minutes. "I really wanted the tickets," Igoe said. "I've never been to a Duke game before."

Waldrop said the event is important to continue Hooker's memory. He said, "Michael Hooker was chancellor and he died relatively early of cancer and to honor him by raising funds to go towards cancer - I'm sure he'd be honored to know that he's remembered in this fashion."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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