Student to run 1,000 miles to raise scholarship

UNA senior James Cochran runs to raise money for his scholarship project, 1,000 Miles Away. He said he has raised approximately $1,200 for the project so far, but he intends to keep running.

In an effort to raise money for a student scholarship, UNA senior James Cochran has pledged to run 1,000 miles in eight months. Cochran started a project called 1,000 Miles Away to create a scholarship for future honors students.

“Since it’s my last year, I wanted to give back to the university,” Cochran said. “The Honors Program, specifically, has opened so many doors for me. It seemed like a practical idea to create a scholarship so other students can have these experiences.”

The idea to run 1,000 miles to raise money came from a book, Cochran said.

“I was reading the autobiography of a paraplegic runner that inspired me to use my passion for running in a way that could help others,” Cochran said.

Cochran said he has raised approximately $1,200 with the project so far, although he intends to surpass that. The type of scholarship given will depend on the fundraiser’s final sum.

“My preference would be to pay certain fees for one student each semester over their college career,” Cochran said. “I’ve also discussed dividing the funds among more students to pay their book fees for a few semesters.”

Vince Brewton, director of the UNA Honors Program, described fundraising as a crucial part of the program’s mission for students.

“I’m proud of James for taking the personal initiative to create a scholarship opportunity for honors students,” Brewton said. “It’s gratifying to see someone make the effort to give back to the university while he’s still a student here.”

While doing research for his honors capstone project, Cochran said he was able to email various businesses about fundraising. Although many companies were contacted, the results were inconclusive.

“It’s hard to convince people to give money to a college student,” Cochran said. “I’m taking a different approach now and reaching out directly to the community. I’ve found a lot of success in making phone calls and shaking hands.”

With fundraising underway, Cochran said his biggest challenge is staying committed to running the 1,000 miles.

“I am currently 10 days in and my legs are already feeling it,” Cochran said. “It’s easier for me to stay motivated right now because I’m still on fire about this project. However, when it’s 30 degrees outside with 20 mph winds, I’ll have to rely on others for motivation.”

In order to stay focused, Cochran said he asked everyone donating funds per mile to withhold all donations until May 1, when the project is complete.

“I’ve already missed one 10-mile run, which means I have to get caught up or the donors don’t have to pay for those miles,” Cochran said. “It’s much easier to get up and run in the morning when someone’s college tuition depends on it.”

Cochran said his main intention with the project, other than the scholarship, is to inspire other students to pursue their goals.

“People think this project is outlandish, but so many people do things cooler than this every single day,” Cochran said. “I’m very confident I’ll be able to do this.”

For more info on 1,000 Miles Away and how to donate to the scholarship, visit