Children smile a lot when they run: UC-MMS students train for race


UC-MMSUniversity of Charleston freshman are partnering with local elementary students to build a healthy future for the community as part of the UC Welch Colleague Half Marathon/5K to be held Saturday, March 19.

Nineteen UC First Year Experience Program participants have been training after school four days a week for the past two months with more than 70 Mountaineer Montessori School elementary students to get them ready for the 5K portion of the event.


Read the Charleston Gazette-Daily Mail article: UC-Mountaineer Montessori off to a running start

UC requires each class to plan and execute a service learning project within the freshman year.  Professor Hallie Dunlap, assistant professor of social sciences, has led her section of freshmen as they work with young athletes to build fundamental jogging and running skills.  The young MMS runners and their UC mentors will sport a custom UC/MMS combined t-shirt designed specifically to represent the program’s efforts.

Race for Education 2015 101After school training has been supplemented by twice-weekly running and jogging sessions as part of the MMS Physical Education program.

The goal of this project collaboration is to encourage children to be active and live a healthy lifestyle from an early age. Varun Shah, Peer Educator for the University 102 section, says the group’s goal “is to bring awareness of a growing national problem, obesity.”

“We chose to do a Couch to 5K-type event because it would be a good stepping stone for living a healthy life.  We chose to work with kids because they are the most impressionable group, and their habits would carry on work towards a healthier future.”

MMS, located at 308 20th Street in Kanawha City, has enjoyed a long collaboration with UC, its landlord and education partner.

C MMS UC Running Program 035

The MMS students weren’t the only ones who are benefiting from this latest collaboration, says Chillag, sharing her observations:


CMMS UC Running Program 013c MMS UC Running Program 062C MMS UC Running Program 011

















The University of Charleston will host the second annual Welch Colleague 5K and Half Marathon Races on Saturday, March 19, 2016.

The races will start at the University’s MacCorkle Avenue location, with the Half-Marathon beginning at 8 am and the 5k following at 8:15 am.

The Welch Colleague program is designed to amplify the leadership abilities of UC students.  Senior Colleagues within the capstone level of the program carry out a community engagement project each year to exemplify their acquired leadership skills.

This years’ race was designed to be the only spring half marathon held in the Charleston/Huntington area, and features many unique components, all developed by students.

Highlights include:

Certification of the course by the USATF

Local companies employed for the manufacturing of our award medals

Involvement with local elementary school students to get students to participate in the race to promote healthy lifestyle choices.

The race medals were designed by local master potter, Julie Wingard of Fayettville, WV.  The medals are glazed clay cutouts of WV, with a UC Half Marathon logo pressed in the center.  Additionally, Hallie Dunlap, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Charleston, and her University 102 students are working in collaboration with Mountaineer Montessori School to coach elementary students in preparation for the 5K event.  UC and MMS students will continue to train together, four days each week, up until the date of the race.

Additional information can be found at!shop/cz1e.