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Athletes run, roll to help raise funds for UA's Disability Resource Center

CLAIRE C. LAURENCE/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona para-athlete Tyler Byers treks alongside fellow racers yesterday during the annual Jim Click Run & Roll. The event is a fundraiser that benefits the Disability Resource Center's athletic program.
By Zach Colick
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 4, 2004
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Between 800 and 1,000 participants and supporters showed up for the Jim Click Run & Roll event early yesterday morning benefiting the UA's Disability Resource Center and its athletes.

The festivities got underway at 6:45 a.m. with the HealthSouth Elite 8K Wheelchair Race with DRC athletes from the UA as well as disabled athletes from across the country competing in the race.

The 8K Run/Walk, 3K Fun Run/Walk and Kid's Race started at 7:30 a.m. with UA students, professional runners and Tucson community members racing to raise funds for the DRC.

Dave Murray, director of Run & Roll and former UA track coach, said the primary purpose of the event is to raise funds for the DRC's athletic program for disabled athletes.

Dave Herr-Cardillo, assistant director of the DRC, said the race also helps the DRC recruit disabled athletes for its athletic program.

Just like coaches Lute Olson and Joan Bonvicini recruit players, so do DRC coaches, trying to get the most talented disabled athletes to come to UA, Herr-Cardillo said.

"This is a great opportunity for these kids to visit with our handicapped program, get academic counseling and look at the campus," Herr-Cardillo said. "Ninety percent of these visiting students will decide if they want to go here."

"This is a tremendous cause and it's earmarked to our athletes," Murray said. "The goal is to raise money through pledge cards. So, whether it's your friends, family or relatives, we want the participants to go out and collect as much money as possible to help out our disabled student athletes."

Elisa Kinder, event director of the Run & Roll, said the Run & Roll was for athletes from all walks of life.

"We put on the event for elite runners, for kids and for walkers to attract runners of all ages," she said. "We're doing an excellent job of doing that."

Kyle Mutz, a DRC athlete and creative rehabilitation counseling junior, has participated in the Run & Roll for the past two years and said every year is special and fun.

Mutz, who finished third in the male portion of the race, said the race wore him out, but he was able to "push it out" nonetheless.

"It's a really great event, and it promotes good physical fitness," he said. "It gives people opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise had by participating in a race such as this."

Bobby Voss, a wheelchair participant visiting the UA from St. Louis, said he liked the campus and said the DRC is very accommodating to special needs.

Voss, who recently broke his leg, said he was able to race by "just winging it" and said he was proud of himself and his effort.

Chris Taylor, a wheelchair participant from Spokane, Wash., said he also enjoyed his weekend at the UA.

Taylor, who finished fifth in the men's portion of the race and sixth overall, said he wants to be recruited by the DRC athletic program.

Students who participated in the Walk/Run said they were glad the money raised would benefit a good cause.

Amber Epperson, a pre-business freshman, who participated in the 8K Run/Walk with her sorority, Chi Omega, said she loved being part of the event because the cause means a lot with family and friends affected by a disability.

"It's a great cause to get a lot of people out here and it's even more special when you run for something," she said.

Christopher Lees, a pre-business freshman, said it was inspiring to see disabled athletes compete in the wheelchair race.

Organizers and participants praised Tucson businessman Jim Click who has been a longtime sponsor of the event.

"He's a great philanthropist for the community," Lees said.

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