The first of three Run with a Researcher events hosted by the University of Oregon this spring will take place on Saturday at 8 a.m. At this free, no-registration-necessary event, students can choose to run 4.5 miles or walk 3.1 miles with a UO researcher.
Participants will meet at the “O” Desk in the EMU where faculty members will talk briefly about their work and their connection to running or walking. After dividing into either running or walking groups, participants of the 4.5-mile run will make their way to Pre’s Trail and loop back. The 3.1-mile walk is a shorter version of this loop.
Some of the researchers who will be walking or running are Elizabeth Skowron who is a professor in the Counseling Psychology department and Andrew Karduna, a professor in the human physiology department. A list of other participating researchers can be found here.
Karduna’s research deals with the motion of the upper extremity, and how the central nervous system controls these movements.
He said that participating in the event is a no-brainer. “I like running. I like talking about my research. I like people.”
Skowron, who has led runs like this before, had a similar take on how events like this offer a lot in a short amount of time.
“It’s a lot of fun to learn about the people who are coming to these big weekend events and make connections,” Skowron said.
It can be hard sometimes to find the time to connect with colleagues and friends, Skowran said, and running can be a social event where she can get good exercise and meet new people.
“After the first time, I really had an enjoyable experience running with a lot of folks and talking to them about Eugene and a little bit about the research I do and what my colleagues do,” Skowran said.
She said her research is about “understanding how behavioral interventions can not only lower risk for child maltreatment, but improve self-regulation skills and parents’ skills in regulating and managing emotions.” She said this event gives the community an opportunity to learn about the academic side of the university and experience the athletic side.
According to Molly Blancett, the media relations manager for university communications, Run with a Researcher was first held daily during the 2016 Olympic Trials but now is only held on weekends when there will be families and other visitors on campus.
“The UO is a world-class running school with world-class researchers, so we thought why not combine the two,” Blancett said.
Blancett said that during the Olympic Trials, the event averaged 50 participants per run and since has had anywhere from five to 25 per run. Run with a Researcher is meant to give community members and students an opportunity to hear more about the research done at UO, while also getting a good workout.
“We hope that participants come away with a larger sense of curiosity and connection, whether inspired by the conversation they had with their professor or the simple act of exploring their city in a new way,” Blancett said.
The following two Run with a Researcher events this spring term will be held on May 12 coinciding with the UO Spring Family Weekend and May 26 coinciding with the Prefontaine Classic.