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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    A Run ‘N’ Roll for their money

    Wheelchair athletes take a sharp turn around the UA Mall early yesterday as part of the 11th annual Jim Clicks Run N Roll. The event brought in more than $140,000 dollars for the universitys Adaptive Athletics program.
    Wheelchair athletes take a sharp turn around the UA Mall early yesterday as part of the 11th annual Jim Click’s Run ‘N’ Roll. The event brought in more than $140,000 dollars for the university’s Adaptive Athletics program.

    With dew still on the lawn, a mass of athletes gathered at the UA mall yesterday morning to raise $140,000 for the university’s disabled athletic programs in the 11th annual Jim Click’s Run ‘N’ Roll.

    The event – launched at 7 a.m. by the HealthSouth Elite eight-kilometer wheelchair race – brought out 830 participants. Proceeds went to the UA Disability Resource Center, said Dave Herr-Cardillo, assistant director of Adaptive Athletics.

    “”It’s a fun way to showcase the sport of wheelchair racing,”” said Herr-Cardillo. “”This is a big event for us.””

    Every year, Run ‘N’ Roll attracts between 10 and 20 recruiting prospects from around the country for the UA’s wheelchair athletics program – the country’s largest – which boasts 60 athletes in several sports, said Herr-Cardillo.

    “”I think it’s a really good cause ’cause it shows the kids what we’re doing here,”” said Jackie Daya, a special education sophomore, who was the second woman to finish in the chair race. “”I felt good, it was a really good race.””

    Runners – both local and from across the country – lined up for the starting pistol crack of an 8K run/walk, followed by the 3K Valvoline “”Grease Your Wheels”” Fun Run, with members of UA track and swimming teams nearby for support.

    Cameron Green, a studio art senior, came out to support the DRC despite having participated in a 60-mile cycle ride on Saturday with the UA triathlon team.

    “”It feels great to come out and support these athletes,”” Green said.

    The festive morning atmosphere was enough to convince top prospect Brandon Caswell – who finished second in the men’s division despite a crash that left his hand bleeding – to choose the UA over his other school of interest, the University of Illinois.

    “”It’s a lot of fun – it’s a good atmosphere that helps you stay motivated,”” said Caswell, who hails from Pendleton, Ore. “”I like the weather and the coach, Pete Hughes. He’s a good guy.””

    The event, funded through participants and corporate sponsorship, is the largest fundraiser for the DRC, which operates solely through its own budget, said race director Dave Murray.

    While cash prizes and gift certificates awaited the top finishers during the awards ceremony, the real benefit was to have Tucson’s athletic community united in support of UA’s disabled competitors, said Murray.

    “”I look at these athletes the same as the athletes in other UA programs,”” said Murray, who retired four years ago after 35 years as head coach of the Arizona track and field team. “”The things they’re doing are amazing and unbelievable.””

    Jim Click – event namesake and Tucson automotive icon – was on the sidelines cheering the wheelchair races, along with UA cheerleaders and runners.

    Click first lended support to the event at the DRC’s request 20 years ago, when his employee Richard Nolen suffered a broken neck during a football game, Click said.

    The former body shop tech earned an accounting degree from the UA and is now his chief of financial operations, said Click.

    “”I’ll never forget going to see him in the hospital – he had the best attitude I’ve ever seen,”” said Click. “”I think Run ‘N’ Roll is one of the best things we’ve ever done.””

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