This April, three history majors and members of the RMU History Club – seniors Dan Blevins and Steven Noorlag, and junior Caleb Smith – took part in the American Odyssey Relay Run Adventure, a two-day, 200-mile relay race from Gettysburg to Washington D.C., which crosses various Civil War battlefields along the way.
The race benefits Hope Connections for Cancer Support, a cancer support services charity; and Team Red, White and Blue, which works to create a community of veterans, their families, and American citizens who can enjoy authentic social interaction and shared experiences through activities and events all across America.
“It was the experience of a lifetime,” says Blevins, president of RMU’s History Club, and, along with Noorlag, a member of RMU’s Three Rivers Battalion. “You start out in Gettysburg and run through the battlefield, passing all of the monuments. If that doesn’t motivate you, nothing will.”
Blevins served 10 years in the Army in Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Korea as a Cavalry Scout before coming to RMU through the Yellow Ribbon program.
Around 150 teams of 12 ran non-stop during the two-day race, and Blevins says the streets were lined people cheering them on. “I have never seen such camaraderie in my entire life.”
Each runner on the team had three different legs to run over the course of the race, and each team had a van to provide support and transport the other runners during the race. Blevins says they were able to get about an hour of sleep per runner; they completed the course in 32 hours.
“It was physically exhausting,” he says, “but when you are racing for a good cause it is easy to find the energy to keep going.” ~
Written by Valentine J. Brkich