By Randy York
Since Nebraska’s chapter for Uplifting Athletes is unique by nature, it’s only fitting that the Husker football team’s first national nonprofit organization has found a new path to match the club’s trailblazing efforts to raise money for pediatric brain cancer. “Because football players want to raise awareness and funds to support a cause they staunchly believe in, we wanted to design a unique course to support them,” said Glen Moss, the president of the Lincoln Track Club, which will present a 5K Road Race and 1-Mile Fun Run on Sunday morning, July 21.
The inaugural Nebraska Football Uplifting Athletes Road Race/Fun Run becomes the first – and will be the only – fund-raising event the organization will take on annually. “We think it can become one of the most anticipated road races in Nebraska every year,” Moss said. That’s why he’s encouraging runners across the state and throughout the Midwest to join Jack Hoffman, the 7-year-old pediatric brain cancer patient who helped inspire the Nebraska football team to become one of 21 chapters in the national Uplifting Athletes organization.
Hoffman and the late Isaiah Casillas were the first two pediatric brain cancer patients to win the hearts of Nebraska football players and became the catalysts for the team’s efforts to form its own chapter. Senior fullback C.J. Zimmerer was the group’s first president, and sophomore wide receiver Sam Burtch is his successor. Burtch said dozens of Huskers will attend the 8 a.m. one-mile fun run, followed by the 8:30 a.m. 5K race. Both runs will begin at the Stadium Drive loop just outside the 501 Building on the UNL city campus. The route passes Memorial Stadium’s west entrance, continues on Salt Creek Roadway to the east side of the Devaney Center and then heads west on Military Road before going south via Antelope Valley Trail and finish at the starting line. Registration is $20 for the fun run and $30 for the road race.
“Our chapter members wanted to do something unique, and the Lincoln Track Club has helped us do that,” said Nebraska Associate Athletic Director Keith Zimmer, the advisor for NU’s chapter of Uplifting Athletes. “Our players will be out there in full force supporting both races for a great cause. They’re preparing for the battle of fall camp and bonding together to take on one of life’s big battles at the same time. Jack, Isaiah and others motivated Rex Burkhead, Quincy Enunwa and others to start our own chapter. We’re aware the races are on the same Sunday as the Cornhusker State Games competition, and we’re hoping a lot of people who’ll be in Lincoln will join the cause. If we all embrace the challenge, we can make an incredible difference in the lives of pediatric brain cancer patients everywhere.”
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