September 22, 2009

Event will raise funds for Women’s Center

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- When Chris Jones cares about something, he’s willing to let his feet do his talking. That’s why the Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate student is spearheading the Second Annual Saluki 50 Mile Challenge this week.

The challenge kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, and runs -- yes, literally runs nonstop -- until 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25. Jones, a second year graduate student in recreation management, and Jim Payne, a junior cinema and photography student, plan to each run 50 miles in those 25 hours.

The Chicago area young men are also welcoming others to join them as they log their miles.

“Participants can run, bike, skate or walk 1-2 miles at their own pace,” said Jones, an assistant hall director at SIUC’s Schneider Hall. “The event lasts 25 hours in the hopes of including as many people as possible. We just ask that participants donate $1 for every mile they cover. One hundred percent of the money collected will go to The Women’s Center.”

They hope to raise awareness about domestic violence and help bring an end to domestic violence and violence against women as they collect funds for The Women’s Center, Inc. in Carbondale, Jones said. Jones and Payne are collecting pledges and those who join them can do so as well. Or volunteers can just donate $1 for each mile they complete at the Saluki 50 Mile Challenge.

It’s all happening on the east side of Schneider Hall. Jones expressed appreciation to University Housing’s Residence Life for its cooperation and assistance with the event.

If you’d like to participate, just show up any hour, on the hour, during the event. No pre-registration necessary. Each run begins and ends at Schneider Hall. There’s no time limit but there will be refreshments at the end of each two-mile stint. All of the pre-measured runs traverse the SIUC campus on safe, well-lit courses, Jones said.

Jones ran competitively when he was younger and said the training was hard work. As he got older, he found he still enjoyed running but preferred to run for fun, especially if he could help a worthwhile cause in doing so. The inaugural Saluki 50 Mile Challenge in 2008 raised about $900 for The Women’s Center. Naturally, Jones and Payne hope to exceed that total this year.

“Rain or shine, we will be out there running,” Jones said.

He said there won’t be much sleeping going on Thursday night but there will card tricks, guitars playing, refreshments and more.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Jones said. And, it’s for a good cause.