North Country Community College Athletics and Planned Parenthood’s Sexual Assault Services will help raise awareness of relationship violence and abuse when they host a “Yards for Yeardley” 5K Community Run on April 8 at the college’s Saranac Lake campus.
Yards for Yeardley was created by the One Love Foundation and named for University of Virginia women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love, who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend just weeks before their graduation in May 2010.
Yards for Yeardley, which launched in 2014, is a community awareness and activation event through which people have rallied to honor Yeardley and support One Love’s mission to end relationship abuse by educating young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Colleges and university teams across the country, including more than 30 in New York state, and other groups and organizations are participating this year by hosting a variety of events. Since the start of the foundation, thousands of people have joined together to run, walk or bike over 500 million yards.
“Our goal is to raise awareness about relationship abuse,” said Kent Egglefield, NCCC’s head women’s lacrosse and soccer coach. “As a coach of two women’s teams, I want to do anything I can to help our student-athletes learn about the warning signs of unhealthy or dangerous relationships. I’m also the parent of two daughters, so this really hits home for me.”
“We wanted to do something fun and interactive for the community,” said Deirdre Loftus, Sexual Assault Prevention Educator for Planned Parenthood of the North Country. “Yards for Yeardley is something everyone can get involved in that sends a clear message to survivors that their stories matter and their voices deserve to be heard.”
Egglefield and Loftus are co-chairs of the event’s organizing committee. A contingent of student-athletes at the college, men and women, are also on the committee, Egglefield explained.
“I think it’s important for the students to be involved so they can talk to their teammates about what’s appropriate and what is not and understand what really constitutes sexual assault,” he said.
The 5k will begin at 10 a.m. by the entrance to the college’s soccer and lacrosse field, then follow Payeville Road out to McKenzie Pond Road, Pine Street and Forest Hill Avenue, circling Moody Pond and returning to campus via the same route.
Registration can be done the day of the race or online at https://nccc.prestosports.com/information/Yards_for_Yeardley_5k_Registration.