Up, Up and Away! Runners to take to the streets for the Great Cape Escape
The annual fundraiser organized by the Elon Physician Assistant Student Society supports the work of the Open Door Clinic.
By Madison MacKenzie '18
With masked men and caped crusaders running through Elon on Sept. 23, it’s going to look like Halloween has come early this year. It’s not a mistake with the calendar that sends these runners into the streets to save the day, but rather the third annual Great Cape Escape 5K/10K Run.
The fundraiser that has runners dressing up and raising money is organized by Elon’s Physician Assistant Student Society (EPASS), with 100 percent of the proceeds used to support the Open Door Clinic of Alamance County. The clinic provides free health care to Alamance County residents who can not afford it. The clinic has two physician assistants and one director, and relies on volunteers for the rest of its workforce.
Dressing up as a superhero is always fun, but with the Great Cape Escape, it can mean a lot more. “The 2013 class voted and decided to make it a superhero run, because if you run, you are a superhero for the Open Door Clinic,” said Cindy Bennett, an assistant professor of physician assistant studies and an advisor to EPASS.
More than 500 members of Alamance County receive all of their health care from Open Door clinic, so the participation of volunteers is crucial to keeping the clinic open. “Our students have always had a big interest in volunteering there,” Bennett said. “Since 2013 we have had two students volunteer at the clinic every Tuesday and Thursday for most of the school year, so the clinic means a lot to us.”
The students kicked their volunteering up a notch when they decided to create the run. In 2016, supporters raised more than $13,000 dollars for the clinic and this year they hope to top that total.
They plan to achieve this goal by amping up the fun for the whole Elon community. New this year is a virtual run aspect to the race. Supporters who can’t make it to the event at Elon can sign up for the race, run their own route wherever they are, and receive a medal for participating. It’s a way to give back for those who aren’t able to be in Elon on race day, organizers said.
“On the day of the event we will have lots of different vendors there doing a race expo and all the participants can get little freebies,” said Great Cape Escape co-director Selby Rouch. “The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program will have a tent to help people stretch before and after the race, and there is also pre and post race yoga. We will also have a photo booth, face painting, a costume contest, and lots of sponsors.”
EPASS works very closely with Open Door to plan and execute this event each year, and according to Great Cape Escape co- director Michael Whitehurst, it’s a team effort by the all physician assistant students. “I think there is a drive within us as future health care providers to give of ourselves to people, and this is great way for us to do that,” Whitehurst said.
The Great Cape Escape kicks off Sept. 23 with the Kids Zombie Fun Run at 8 a.m. followed by the 10K and 5K at 8:30 a.m. To register and learn more, go to www.runthegce.com.