Amid the long-standing gridiron rivalry, West Virginia University and University of Pittsburgh students are coming together for a good cause.

Members of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity, will run for their health and that of others in the 35th annual APO Run to Pitt, benefiting the Autism Society of Pittsburgh.

This years event kicks off at 6:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at the Sheetz gas station at the Interstate 79 Star City exit and continues through Saturday, Nov. 20. Participants will run a 73-mile relay along Route 19 from Milan Puskar Stadium to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

We usually run 20-minute segments to keep members from completely draining themselves,said APO Publicity Chair Kristin Shallenberger.This race is extremely important to us and autism. Weve been here since the beginning and will continue to raise money and awareness for a neurological disorder that affects 1.5 million Americans.

Along the way, APO members will carry a football that will be given to Pittsburgh football coach Walt Harris and used in the Backyard Brawl at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 25, at Heinz Field.

The run is one of my favorite APO activities,Shallenberger said.By the time you reach either spot, you are physically worn out, but your adrenaline is so high because you helped out a worthy cause.

Throughout the fall semester, APO members have been handing out information about autism on campus and in the community, and raising money through individual and business sponsorships.

Last years Run from Pitt raised $1,600 for the Autism Society of Pittsburgh.

Alpha Phi Omega is a national service fraternity with more than 700 chapters in the United States and the Philippines. The student organization was founded on the campus of Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., in 1925.

The WVU Lambda Omicron chapter was founded in 1955 and has more than 60 members.

For more information about APO , go to

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