Lander University students Dylan Forrester and Camry Ford will soon be running for their lives - but not because of hurricanes or other catastrophes.
On October 25, Ford and Forrester will show up on campus with hundreds of other students, faculty, staff and their families to take part in the university's fifth annual Moonshine Run/Walk to simply have fun and promote healthier lifestyles.
"I have never run the Moonshine Run before," said Ford, a senior business major," and I am really looking forward to the event."
The free event, organized by Lander's Campus Recreation, will kick off at 5 p.m. with walk-up registration and preliminary festivities near Finis Horne Arena.
The first 300 Lander students, faculty, or staff to sign up will receive a free commemorative t-shirt.
"All of the extra activities create a welcoming atmosphere to something that might otherwise seem intimidating," said Forrester, a transfer student and second-year exercise science major.
"All of the staff and volunteers are very friendly and motivating."
The actual begins at sunset, around 7 p.m. at the front fountain, and extends almost three miles in a route that includes Willson Street, past Laura Lander Hall, across the bridge towards Centennial Hall, and around Brookside and Thomason residence halls before ending at Finis Horne and the Chandler Center.
"The Moonshine Run is one of the biggest events we put on each year, and it's also one of the most-enjoyed and talked-about," said Matthew Gilstrap, director of campus recreation. "People love the Halloween atmosphere, and the ability to dress up with glow sticks and paint, and run around our beautiful campus with their friends."
The Moonshine Run/Walk began in 2013, as a university collaboration with the Wellness Center and the Lander University Police Department.
Its purpose was twofold: to have a fun school-wide autumn event; and to encourage students to choose healthy alternatives to alcohol/drugs.
Partnering organizations for the run/walk include S.C. Highway Patrol, Student Affairs, Beyond Abuse and Cornerstone.
Cornerstone is the alcohol and drug abuse commission serving Greenwood, Edgefield, McCormick, and Abbeville counties. The agency provides prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support services for people and families affected by alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
"One of our primary areas of focus in Prevention is to decrease underage youth alcohol use," said Teresa Roy, director of community outreach with Cornerstone. "So the chance to interact with Lander students and share current and relevant information about substance use and resources is my favorite part of the Run/Walk."
Gilstrap added that the event name was purposely derived as a double meaning: Moonshine, as a form of illegal alcohol; and as an event that happens at night under the light of the moon.
So far, Gilstrap said, the bigger message of the Run/Walk seems to be catching on.
"We're able to reach students face-to-face in a fun environment about an issue we think is very important for them to understand," Gilstrap said. "And the run/walk lets them see that we're really here to help them succeed and be the best they can be while at college."