Elon’s Great Cape Race Earns $17,000 for Clinic That Serves the Uninsured

By Katelyn Litvan, Elon University

Superman and Batman couldn’t make it, but there was no shortage of superheroes taking part in the recent Great Cape Escape race at Sullivan Foundation partner school Elon University.

For the seventh year in a row, racers donned capes, masks and costumes and laced up their running shoes. Held virtually across multiple days—instead of gathering runners together to simultaneously run a single route—the Great Cape Escape race kicked off on Sept. 18 and closed on Oct. 10. Participants had three weeks to complete a 5k or 10k run or both.

All the profits from the race went towards the Open Door Clinic, which provides quality health care at no cost to the uninsured of Alamance County. This year’s event raised more than $17,000, enough money to cover all medications for Open Door patients for an entire year.

The hero-themed race took on a virtual form for the second year in a row due to pandemic restrictions. While runners were able to participate at any time throughout the three-week race period, virtual festivities were held on Oct. 9. The online event awarded top runners and celebrated the total amount raised by sponsors and participants.

“We decided to be virtual again this year out of an abundance of caution,” said Morgan Darrow, an Elon physician assistant studies student and member of the Great Cape Escape planning committee. “We thought of ways we could ensure none of the participants would get sick but, with the way things have been with COVID, we hated to risk it.”

Racers were able to log their miles through the ItsYourRace website. Although the Great Cape Escape website provided some pre-measured race routes, racers were encouraged to get creative with their miles by running on the beach, forest or open road.

More than 130 participants took part in this year’s race. “The best thing about having a virtual race was that heroes from across the country were able to support it,” said Darrow. “We even had runners from Vermont and Indiana!”

Despite the flexibility that the virtual race format offers, the race organizers hope to hold the race in person next fall. “We love getting to see everyone in person in their superhero attire and see everyone supporting the Open Door Clinic,” Darrow added.

The Open Door Clinic of Alamance County treats over 600 patients a year. The Elon University Physician’s Assistant program volunteers at many of the clinic’s fundraising events. More information can be found here.

This article has been edited from the original version appearing on the Elon University website.

Elon Innovation Challenge Brings Together College Students to Solve Complex Social Issues

The Sullivan Foundation will sponsor up to seven teams of students from Sullivan partner schools looking to participate in Elon University’s 2020 Elon Innovation Challenge, with a grand prize of $1,500 awarded to the first-place team.

The Elon Innovation Challenge takes place at Elon University, located in Elon, North Carolina, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 29. In addition to the $1,500 grand prize, the second-place team will win $1,000, while third place earns $600. Slots are limited, and teams will be accepted on a first-come/first-serve basis. To register as a Sullivan-sponsored team, visit and list your school as a Sullivan Foundation partner school in the registration form.

Elon University students can register here.

Non-Elon students can register here.

The deadline to register is February 12.

Hosted by Elon’s Doherty Center for Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Elon Innovation Challenge is a competition that challenges students to problem-solve and think through big, wicked, compelling issues. The primary goal is to sharpen students’ ability to solve problems, innovate and address large social issues with an eye on creating sustainable solutions, according to Alyssa Martina, the Doherty Center’s director.

this photo depicts a team of students at the Elon Innovation Challenge

A team of students works on solving a “big, wicked, compelling” issue in the Elon Innovation Challenge.

Students from various universities will have the opportunity to explore a complex issue they likely encounter every day. Over a period of a day, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., the teams will work to develop a real solution to a real problem.  Student teams will present their solution in a “Shark Tank” type of forum to a team of judges.

Related: Elon University students learn how to “make a mark in the world” at Sullivan Ignite Retreat

“The problem is revealed at the beginning of the day when students gather to hear a guest speaker talk about the social issue,” Martina said. “Students are given packets of information with more specifics about the problem and should use the next couple of hours to understand the problem and define it in a way that can lead to a solution. The afternoon is spent ideating and brainstorming to winnow down ideas to a specific solution that is sustainable. By the end of the day, students should have a prototype developed and a slide deck prepared to present to a panel of judges.”

The solution can be a service, a product (digital, physical or both) or a campaign, or a combination of any of the above. Students will answer key questions, such as:

* How will your solution work in the real world?

* What connections are created through your solution that do not exist today?

* How will your key user/customer and the community benefit from the solution?

Students will also take part in a series of workshops centered around topics such as Human-Centered Design Thinking; Value Proposition and Customer Validation; Triple Impact Solutions; Spontaneous Innovation; Sustainability Issues; Protecting Intellectual Property; Prototyping; and Creating a Pitch Deck and Pitching Your Solution.

This photo shows judges at the Elon Innovation Challenge

Student teams compete, “Shark Tank” style, to win a grand prize of $1,500 for the best solution to a vexing social issue.

After the first round of competition, the winners will present their ideas in the Grand Finals later that same evening.

Related: Elon University’s Buddies Program receives Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service

“All students are welcome to take part in the Challenge, which is very intensive but also a lot of fun,” Martina said. “The only requirements are that teams must be formed prior to the start of the Challenge and must be comprised of between four and six students, with at least two different schools represented on the team—for instance, business and engineering or liberal arts and communications. Individuals who wish to attend and be placed on a team are also welcome.”

Previous competitions were limited to Elon University students, but the Doherty Center expanded the program to include other colleges and universities this year. “We decided to do this because it was such a success and the feedback was so positive that we felt we should include other schools to take part in this ‘wild’ experience,” Martina noted.



Elon Buddies Program Receives Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service

The Elon Buddies program, a partnership between Elon University and Alamance Community College (ACC), recently received the Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service.

Elon Buddies gives undergraduate students the opportunity to pair with special-needs students enrolled in ACC’s Career College program twice a month. Career College is a two-year integrative certificate program for adults with intellectual or developmental and physical disabilities. It provides a foundation for transitioning into a career. Along with on-hands practicum experience, the students learn to develop their math, reading and computer skills.

About 50 Elon and ACC students participate in Elon Buddies, which will celebrate its eighth year this fall.

Read the full version of this article on the Elon University website.