Backpack run raises money for local classrooms

The proceeds go to Roanoke County Public Schools

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Windy weather didn’t stop runners from coming out to Green Hill park in Roanoke County for a good cause Saturday.

Chuck Lionberger is the race director for the Backpack Run 5K, 10K and 8-miler.

“Folks are running even with this wind that’s blowing and everything like that. It doesn’t matter. They’re still out here and they want to support teachers and our students,” Lionberger said.

The money raised from the races go to the Roanoke County Public Schools Education Foundation.

“That again goes to help provide grants for classroom teachers, it goes to provide scholarships for graduating seniors, it goes to support student activities, things like the science fair,” he said.

Lionberger says it helps students get hands on opportunities they may miss out on otherwise.

“It gives our students and our teachers the opportunity to really showcase deeper learning activities, activities that are engaging and purposeful,” he said. “Allows our students to really get to that hands on learning, and sometimes that requires some additional funding to have that happen.”

Jack Stipe got his first race win at the Backpack 5K. He says he always likes to find races that benefit a larger cause.

“My mom is a substitute teacher, not here, but back in Fairfax County. Huge respect for teachers, so it was just like another bonus to be able to do something that goes back to a really good cause,” Stipe said.

Stipe says public education is one of the reasons he has gotten so far in life.

“Public schools especially created my future,” Stipe said. “The reason I am where I am at the school I go to, Virginia Tech, so it’s really a good cause and I’m happy to do something good.”

Lionberger says they’re appreciative of the thousands of dollars the race brings in every year but are even more thankful for the community support.

“We’re so grateful. We talk all the time that it takes a community to teach our kids, it takes parents, it takes teachers, and it takes students. This is case in point right here,” Lionberger said.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

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