CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Run for Your Life has two different meanings.
One acts as a playful warning — "Run for Your Life!" — because the five-mile race takes runners up some tough inclines into Spring Hill Cemetery on a hill overlooking downtown Charleston.
The other is more literal: Run to improve the quality of your life. Run to raise awareness. Run to be a better you.
"The race is a chance to bring awareness to colorectal cancer, as well as provide education and funding for screenings," said Marina Hendricks, 48, a Charleston native who now lives in Arlington, Va.
Hendricks helped organize the run in honor of her late fiance, Jody Jividen, who died of complications from colorectal cancer in August 2002.
Jividen was a longtime Daily Mail staffer who served as columnist, sports editor and city editor. He was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in March 2002 and died in August of the same year.
"I think Jody would want us to do everything we can to prevent someone else from going through the same thing," Hendricks said. "He was only 44 years old."
The five-mile run will begin at June 22 as part of FestivALL and held in conjunction with the Smoke on the Water Chili Cook-off.
Jividen was a running enthusiast who also developed a passion for cooking chili. He and friend Jim Harlan, 55, of South Charleston, were known as the "Big and Tall" chili team and competed in cook-offs together.
"He had a lot of friends, Jody did," Harlan said. "You couldn't help but like him; he was just a good guy. And we get to honor him at the run."
Harlan, Hendricks and a number of others turned Hendricks' idea into reality nine years ago. Since 2004, the race has raised about $40,000 through the $20 runner entry fee.
"CAMC Foundation took over complete organization of the race two years ago; they wanted to direct the money here because CAMC provides cancer services," said Gail Pitchford, CAMC Foundation president.
"And it's really to create awareness for colorectal screening. But with that money you could get a lot — the average cost of a screening is $1,185. But the cost of not doing it is a lot more."