UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - In the spirit of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Richmond cross country teams joined forces in a charitable long run on Saturday in an effort to promote breast cancer awareness. Members of the team were tasked with collecting donations for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and running 10-15 miles, combining to run 270 total miles in an event that also coincided with National "Make A Difference Day".
"October is a very powerful month
as it stands to commemorate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month," said
Spider senior and event organizer Andi DeFonce (West Harrison, N.Y./Harrison). "I
decided to capitalize on my time spent running and combine it with my desire to
make a difference. As a result, I came up with the idea of having our team do a
long run to support the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's mission of "saving
lives, empowering people, ensuring quality for all, and energizing science to
Cool morning temperatures greeted the men's and women's teams on Saturday as they gathered near Richmond's William Byrd and Maymont Parks on National Make A Difference Day, a day when millions of volunteers worldwide engage and serve to improve the world through a "day of doing good."
The Spider harriers combined to run a total of more than 270 miles over the course of the morning on the streets of Richmond and the Northbank Trails, which are part of the city's James River Trail system. Several student-athletes even found themselves running with participants in the "Make A Difference" 5k at one point before returning to their starting point.
"It's a week before our big championship meet, and a point in the semester in which the compilation of our academic priorities has certainly increased," added DeFonce. "Despite our hectic schedules, the team responded to my challenge in supporting National Breast Cancer Month no differently then I had expected: with both excitement and pride. Our coaches challenge us every day to run with a purpose, to support each other and be the best that we can be. Thus, I knew our joint efforts would be plausible and align well with who we are as a team. It was very exciting and special to see everyone throw on some pink (ribbons, headbands, compression socks, shorts, tee-shirts, running skirts) and run with a purpose greater than our own."
"We are proud of our teams," said Richmond Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Lori Taylor. "It's encouraging to see the support and recognition of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and how it has grown over the past two decades. To witness the next generation of young people supporting the foundation is exciting. Andi DeFonce's leadership to support such a worthy cause exemplifies the type of student-athletes we have here at the University of Richmond. They do so much for our community and throughout the world because it's their genuine desire to do so. They are making a difference, and that we can all be proud of."
"As an athlete, you learn that
every individual's effort collectively leads to something great," said DeFonce.
"Power to the Pink! As a female athlete it was very empowering to band together
as a group of healthy women in hopes of finding a cure."
More information on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation can be found here, while those interested in National Make A Difference Day can find additional details here. For more information on community service projects undertaken and supported by the Spider cross country and track & field programs, please visit head men's coach Steve Taylor's blog.