“Well, from the beginning, I think they asked us to be involved in their awareness campaign,” said Shelley Earp, director of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. “They wanted to have a race that made people aware of a couple of local charities.”
The We Build People Campaign, another beneficiary of the Tar Heel 10 Miler, is the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA’s annual campaign to raise funds for people in need, including cancer survivors and underprivileged communities.
Giving back to community organizations is something Ramachandran looks for in every race she runs.
“One of the things I look for in any race, whether it’s a local race or a travel race, is looking for the charities that it sponsors because it has to be something that’s meaningful to me and I think, unfortunately, cancer is something that everyone’s touched by at some point in life or another so that’s a good one that they’re giving back to,” Ramachandran said.
Other options for races include the Fleet Feet 4 Mile Run and the Double Down 14 Mile Challenge.
“You can do anything from the 10 miler to the double down challenge, which is the 10 miler and the four miler, but if you’re new to running and you just want to check it out, the four miler is an absolutely amazing option – it still takes you through some of the really beautiful course that they’ve mapped out and everything, and you still get the benefits of being able to go to the Expo, checking out all the vendors, you’re still giving back to the community and you also get the awesome post-race celebration,” Ramachandran said. “So, even if you’re new to running, this race has a little something for everybody.”
UNC’s club cross country team participates in the 10-mile race every year, with about 50 runners participating this year.
Junior Anders Pokela, president of club cross country, ran his first Tar Heel 10 Miler as a first year. Pokela looks forward to racing with the team again this year.
“We have probably 25 first-years maybe that we brought on in the fall and so like I said, I think it’s a really great race to do as a Carolina student,” Pokela said. “I think it really gets you involved with the Chapel Hill community and it’s a really unique race in that it winds through all parts of campus and takes you all throughout the surrounding Chapel Hill area.”
The support of charitable organizations makes racing in the 10 Miler this Saturday important to the cross-country team.
“That just makes it that much more important for us to get as large a participation as we can,” Pokela said. “The more runners we have, the more money that goes to these great causes.”