By Wyatt Crosher, Assistant Director of Communications for Student Affairs
Before UNC Charlotte and East Carolina meet on the football field for the first time as American Athletic Conference rivals, a football will be on the path to both universities in a different way.
Charlotte and East Carolina are challenging students to “Run the Ball” in a week-long journey across the state of North Carolina to support mental health education and suicide prevention.
Students from both schools will run approximately 250 miles, starting in the Charlotte area and ending in Greenville on ECU’s campus to kick off the Oct. 21 inaugural matchup between the 49ers and Pirates.
“We are excited to showcase this passionate in-state rivalry with a common cause that embodies our school pride, but that also raises awareness for student mental health,” Sujit Chemburkar, associate vice chancellor for student affairs at Charlotte, said. “Run the Ball will show the relentless spirit at both universities while breaking the stigma around mental health.”
Supporters can donate to the Charlotte Run the Ball donation page, which supports students facing mental health struggles, found here.
Student Runners can register here.
Here’s how the week plays out:
Saturday, Oct. 14
The football’s official journey begins as it leaves Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson Stadium during the 49ers’ Homecoming game against Navy on Oct. 14. Over the next three days, Charlotte runners will follow a path that goes through various cities within the state, including Albemarle, Biscoe and Carthage.
Tuesday, Oct. 17
Charlotte’s journey ends in Lemon Springs on Oct. 17, where ECU students will take over at 4 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 21
The run finishes Oct. 21 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium prior to the rivalry game.
“Whether you are a student running or a fan ready to cheer for the game,” Chemburkar said, “this is a great opportunity to show how this rivalry can make a difference past what happens on the field. We encourage everyone to get involved to raise money for a great cause.”
For more information or to donate through UNC Charlotte, visit Run the Ball.