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PITTSBURGH, March 21, 2014 – Lace up the running shoes: It’s time for the 11th annual Athletic Trainer River Run 5K and One-Mile Challenge on March 30. The event, celebrating National Athletic Training Month, will in part benefit the scholarship fund of the Southwest Region of the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society (PATS), which oversees these races.

PATS will donate additional funds raised by the event to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association to assist a certified athletic trainer with double-lung, transplant-related expenses.

The event, sponsored by UPMC Sports Medicine, starts at 8 a.m., Sunday, March 30 at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex, 3200 S. Water St., on Pittsburgh’s South Side.

“We developed the scholarship fund with the idea that we could give back to athletic training programs. We have been fortunate to provide scholarships to so many students over the years, and again this year we’re giving back a little to a fellow athletic trainer,” said Julie Dlugos, an athletic trainer with UPMC. “We moved the race to the end of March, 20 days later than last year, hoping to get both better weather and an even bigger race turnout in honor of the diligence and dedication of athletic trainers at all levels of sports.”

For those who register by March 28, the cost of the 5K is $20, the One-Mille Challenge $15 and both races $25. Race-day registration costs are $25 for the 5K, $20 for the One-Mile Challenge and $30 for both. Those interested in participating can access the secure online registration form at http://www.signmeup.com/ATRiverRun or contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 412-432-3770 to receive a paper registration form or more information. Each registrant will receive a long-sleeve performance shirt and one raffle ticket for a chance to win apparel from local sports teams.

On-site event registration and check-in will begin at 8 a.m., and the UPMC Indoor Training Center will be available for a race warm-up at 8:30 a.m. Jim Thornton of Clarion University, president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, will address the crowd on the role of certified athletic trainers keeping athletes safe and healthy.

The One-Mile Challenge will start at 9 a.m. and the 5K at 10 a.m., with award ceremonies to follow. The raffle and auction will continue through the races, with the winners announced at the conclusion of the 5K. Plaques will be awarded to the top male and female finishers; trophies and medals will be given to the top three finishers in each male and female age group.

After the race, a student from one of the region’s accredited athletic-training programs will receive a PATS Southwest Region scholarship.

In addition to raising funds and awareness of the profession of certified athletic trainers, the event honors the medical professionals specially trained in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of all types of injury and illness that may occur to athletes or physically active people.

The Athletic Trainer River Run is organized by the athletic training staffs and students from UPMC Sports Medicine, Duquesne University, University of Pittsburgh, California University of Pennsylvania, Waynesburg College and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The event is open to the public. Free parking will be available in the lots at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex.

The Children’s Organ Transplant Association, a national charity providing fundraising assistance to transplant families, since 1986 has made it a priority that 100 percent of funds generated in honor of transplant patients ultimately go toward those expenses.

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