EASTERN CAROLINA -

"I Run 4" is a program in which runners are matched up with those who have special needs. It's an effort to create a whole new level of motivation for everyone involved.

Chris Haggat is one of 22,000 people in the group. He is matched with a 16-year-old from Portland, Mich., who has tubular sclerosis.

One of the requirements for runners is to spend at least two to three days a week with their buddies, either through Facebook or on the phone.

Haggat said this type of connection creates a special bond between the runner and his/her buddy.

Unlike other organizations, "I Run 4" doesn't raise money for its cause. Instead, its main purpose is to bring up children's spirits and to put a smile on their faces.

According to Haggat,  the kids are the runners' motivation to get out of bed every day and run.

"I Run 4" is active in all 50 states and 28 different countries. There are currently more than 3,000 runners waiting to be matched.

If you would like to get involved or matched up, visit the "Who I Run 4" website at www.whoirun4.com.