Lindsay Patenaude
Lindsay Patenaude (BSBA '14, BS '14) and a team of 30 students will participate in a 4,000-mile relay race across the U.S. to benefit cancer patients.

Going the extra mile

When Lindsay Patenaude began running, it was for herself. She wanted to get healthier and break the cycle of a sedentary lifestyle.

Now, she runs for others, and is making a tangible difference in the lives of college-aged cancer patients across the country. Patenaude will participate in 4K For Cancer, a 49-day, 4,000-plus-mile run across the U.S. beginning June 14.

Cancer is an all-too familiar foe for Americans. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women are at risk of developing or dying from cancer in their lifetimes.

“When you ask someone to think about someone in their life affected by cancer, they immediately start listing names,” Patenaude said. “Everyone around the world knows someone affected by this disease.”

Patenaude (BSBA ’14, BS ’14), unfortunately, has names on the tip of her tongue as well. She’s had numerous family and friends succumb to cancer over the years. Those experiences motivated Patenaude to volunteer for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life back in high school, and inspired her newest charitable endeavor.

The 4K For Cancer is a cross-country relay race with the proceeds going to scholarships for college-aged students battling cancer. Each participant will run about two miles with the other runners traveling in vans. When a runner completes two miles, another runner pops out to run two more miles.

With about 30 students participating and 4,000-plus miles to complete, Patenaude estimates she’ll run between eight and 13 miles per day. To put that in perspective, if Patenaude runs eight miles per day, she would have completed the equivalent of 15 marathons in seven weeks.

That achievement is now attainable thanks to Patenaude’s newfound dedication to running. Frustrated with her inactive lifestyle, Patenaude began running two years ago. She logs anywhere from 55 to 75 miles per week, and has lost 35 pounds.

“It started off as a burden, lugging myself around Midtown for an hour,” said Patenaude, 23. “I wake up early to get it in before work, and it starts my day on the right foot.”

Patenaude came to Warrington as she was completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Had she remained solely a psychology major, Patenaude said she would have graduated from UF in three years.

“I really grew to love UF, and I didn’t want to leave so soon,” Patenaude said. “So I thought about what other major could be applicable, and I chose business. I’m definitely happy about the decision. Everyone at Warrington was so supportive.”

Patenaude said she has been training six days a week for this summer’s relay. Although it will be a grueling 49 days, she has a healthy perspective on the race.

“Relative to the people I’m trying to help, pulling a muscle is nothing in comparison to what I’m fighting for,” Patenaude said. “The pros definitely outweigh the cons.”

• Lindsay is a Research Assistant at Specialty Pharma Education Center (SPEC) in Odessa, Fla. For every grant Lindsay secures, SPEC donates 1% to her cause. So far, SPEC has contributed $350.
• Lindsay said her future goals may include pursuing a master’s degree or Ph.D. in industrial organizational psychology, or enter the military. Her father is a retired Coast Guard Command Master Chief.
• Lindsay and her team will begin their relay in San Francisco at the Golden Gate Bridge. Where they’ll finish in New York is yet to be determined.