The event benefits local groups that promote the health and financial well-being of women and girls, including UofL’s Women’s Center, PEACC program and Women 4 Women student chapter.

Provost Shirley Willihnganz and UofL’s 2010 Champion 4 Her Paige Battcher will lead the UofL group. To walk with them, meet at the Get Healthy Now booth at Waterfront Park by 7:45 a.m. More information

UofL’s Champion 4 Her

For each walk, UofL selects someone on campus as its own Champion 4 Her. Paige Battcher, this year’s champion, is a 2008 UofL graduate who works in the Office of the Vice President for Finance. She, embodies the spirit of Champions 4 Her, said Patricia Benson, head of Get Healthy Now, UofL’s employee health management program.

Battcher has studied at The Hague University in The Netherlands, taught English in Thailand through the Fulbright program and co-founded an organization in Louisville to bring food gardens to the urban landscape. She’s getting ready for the Ford Ironman competition in August and is raising money concurrently for congenital heart defect research — both in honor of her sister, who has had four surgeries to repair a congenital heart defect. Battcher also co-facilitates an Inner Strength Fitness boot camp for women three days a week, and she has a blog and YouTube channel titled Why Not Optimism?

Here she is in her own words:

Home: Louisville

Profession (for now): Budget analyst in the UofL Department of Budget and Planning

Hobbies: biking, swimming and running; going to local coffee shops; trying to keep the plants in my container garden alive.

Last Book Read: The last book I read from start to finish was Deep Economy, by Bill McKibben. I started Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, which is one of those upbeat books my father gives me. It takes me a while to get through them.

Last Accomplishment: Being in fourth place raising money for the Children’s Heart Foundation in the Janus Charity Challenge. That’s really exciting, but we’re shooting for first! For the top fundraiser in each Ironman event, Janus will contribute an additional $10,000 to help support the chosen charity.

Quote: What motivates me is being better than mediocre.

On being the 2010 UofL Champion 4 Her: I’m certainly appreciative of being recognized. I’m excited to meet the other women out there who really are the champions putting this together and the pioneers in what they do.

As long as we continue to recognize strengths in the women around us, we’ll continue to build up women in the community.

On the Ironman and her fundraising effort: I’ve learned since I started that congenital heart defects are the number one birth defect. There are at least three dozen ways your heart can be born with a defect — where it’s inexplicably engineered to fail — and my sister was born with one of them. She had three surgeries by the time she was three and another one last fall. The procedure was brand new. The doctors said when she was younger that they knew what needed to be done, but it was not possible to do it. Research has touched our family directly.

I volunteered two years in a row for the Ironman. The second year, I was volunteer coordinator and saw it from start to finish. It’s all heart out there. It’s so much determination and everyone’s got their own story for wanting to do it. I asked my sister one night at dinner how she’d feel if I did the Ironman for her. She said it scared her because it was really, really long. I thought, ‘Nothing scares me more than what they’re going to do in your surgery.’ Later that night my parents told me that my sister had been crying, and said she was so proud that I was going to do the Ironman. So I signed up.

On Why Not Optimism: I am generally optimistic. I have my bad days, but I’m very optimistic. I think the measure of our life is going to be directly weighted by the people we touch around us. If we can make our neighbors’, friends’ and families’ lives better somehow, there’s every reason to be optimistic.