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Judson athletic director running 50 miles for 50 years and $50K

JudsUniversity Athletic Director Joel Cott| Submitted

Judson University Athletic Director Joel Cotton | Submitted

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Updated: October 25, 2013 6:03AM

ELGIN — Judson University Athletic Director Joel Cotton wanted to do something to “gain excitement” about Judson’s Golden Centennial, marking 50 years since the Christian liberal arts school was established in Elgin.

Cotton also wanted to do something for Judson athletics. He said he is always looking for ways to raise money for the athletic department, he said.

Whatever he came up with, he wanted it to tie in the university’s second campus in Rockford, and to play to his strengths as a runner, he said.

Cotton knew the athletic director at Roosevelt University had done a fundraising run last year between that school’s two campuses in Schaumburg and Chicago. And as he began looking into doing a similar run, he realized the distance between Judson’s two campuses is about 50 miles.

“It was a good fit, so we took it and ran with it,” he said.

That became “Run for 50,” a 50-mile run over five days to raise $50,000 to celebrate 50 years.

Cotton began running “bright and early” Monday morning at the Judson campus on Featherstone Drive in Rockford. He’ll pick up each day where he left off the day before, running seven to 11 miles a day until he closes the 46-mile-plus distance between Rockford and Judson’s main campus at 1151 N. State St. (Route 31).

On Saturday, he’ll complete the full 50 miles with the annual 5K Homecoming Run on Judson’s Elgin campus.

“It’s just to create awareness to let people know Judson is here and we’re doing great things with new leadership under (university president) Dr. (Gene) Crume and in our athletic department,” he said.

It’s also to raise money for the department, according to the athletic director. He’s asked supporters to pledge $1 for each mile he runs — $50 total, according to Judson. And he hopes to raise $50,000.

That money “directly benefits the student athletes and their collegiate experiences,” he said, making possible things such as the baseball team’s recent trip to Alabama and the softball team’s trip to Arizona.

The Judson University Eagles have 16 separate sports teams, including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field and cross country, baseball, softball, volleyball, lacrosse, golf, cheerleading and poms.

Pledges can be made on the Judson website at Supporters can download a form on the website that can be mailed in as well. All donors will become members of the Judson Athletics Club.

Supporters also can join Cotton on his run along the road between Rockford and Elgin, according to Judson. Crume was planning to run the first 10 miles Monday with the athletic director, Cotton said.

They also can cheer on runners along the route as well as spread the word about Judson Athletics, according to the university.

And they can follow daily updates on Cotton’s progress at

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