Men's and Women's Cross Country Volunteer at Mari's Miles of Smiles Road Race in Cheshire

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CHESHIRE, Conn. – The Quinnipiac men's and women's cross country teams joined up to help run the third annual Mari's Miles of Smiles Road Race in Cheshire held on Saturday, Sept. 22. The joint volunteer mission was part of Quinnipiac's Positive Play Initiative, designed to encourage community service by Quinnipiac's student-athletes, coaches and staff.

"It's event like this where we really come to appreciate our jobs here at Quinnipiac," men's and women's cross country head coach Carolyn Martin said. "Donating our time and effort is the least we can do and helping put on such a meaningful event is even more special."

The Mari's Miles of Smiles Road Race brings together individuals from around the state and raises money for the Mari Hall Family Foundation. The Foundation was founded by Lisa and Matt Hall in honor of their daughter, Mari. Shortly after her second birthday, Mari was diagnosed with ASD and she was immediately enrolled in Easter Seals First Partners program and started receiving 20 hours of early intervention services per week in her home. At 6-years-old, Mari now shows significant advances in social interaction, eye contact, ability to attend to task, self-help skills and receptive language.

The foundation raises money for individuals affected by ASD and also awards a scholarship annually to a graduating high school senior who has best contributed to special needs peers and plans to pursue a career in special education. The foundation's largest fundraising activity is Mari's Miles of Smiles Road Race, a 10K and Family Fun Run event. There were 190 participants in the 10k event for this year and the event raised thousands of dollars for the Mari Hall Family Foundation.

The Bobcat athletes joined forces with local volunteers to support the participants, assist in the race setup, helped record the finishing times of runners, and cleaned up after the conclusion of the festivities for the day.

Quinnipiac men's and women's cross country competes at the Lehigh Paul Short Invitational on Friday, Sept. 28 with the women starting at 10 a.m. and the men at 12 p.m.

Contact: Maxx McNall; maxx.mcnall@quinnipiac.edu