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Huge Crowd Expected for Annual Moonshine Run/Walk

moonshine walk flyerLander University students Adam Swann and Miranda Lesnieski will soon be running for their lives - but not because of witches or Halloween ghosts.

On October 29, Lesnieski and Swann will show up on campus with hundreds of other students, faculty, staff and their families to take part in the university's sixth annual Moonshine Run/Walk to simply have fun and promote healthier lifestyles.

"This will be the first time I've done the Run/Walk, and I'm really excited," said Swann, a junior criminology major.

The free event, organized by Lander's Campus Recreation, will kick off at 5 p.m. with walk-up registration near Finis Horne Arena. Preliminary festivities will include pumpkin carving, games, music, and a "Boo Bar."

"I really look forward to the events that will take place before the run," said Lesnieski, a junior Nursing major. "My friends and I plan to be decked out in glow sticks and enjoy a really fun Halloween event."

The run starts at sunset, around 7 p.m. at the front fountain, and extends almost three miles in a route that winds around the Lander campus.

So far, early registration has been on a runaway pace, as more than 180 signed up in less than a day.

"The Moonshine Run is one of the most-enjoyed and most-talked-about events that we put on each year," 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 LUPD, S.C. Highway Patrol, Beyond Abuse, Meg's House, 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."