Four students contributed 190 of the 512.75 total miles run at the Alpha Phi Omega Run-a-Thon on Friday, when each student ran more than a marathon in hopes of supporting the event and winning the $400 gift card prize.
Team Boston, made up of junior Luke Madson and senior Jenny Linder, won the prize by running 100 miles, while team Paula Dean, made up of senior John Cusimano and sophomore Marc Spehlmann, ran for 90 miles. The prize was awarded by dividing the total number of miles run by the number of team members.
Cusimano admitted that the prize played a role in motivating him to participate in the event.
“Originally I was really motivated because I heard that there was a substantial gift card prize, which I understand sounds pretty shallow. You know, it’s really an event about supporting the Humane Society, but I figured, I enjoy running. It would be fun to run and also be rewarded,” Cusimano said.
The event maintained an atmosphere of friendly competition between the two teams, who were both vying for the prize. Cusimano noted that the competitive aspect of the event pushed him to continue to rack up the miles.
“I didn’t know that Luke and Jenny were as serious as they were about it until the days leading up to it, so I never anticipated running as far as I did. É It was so much fun, so awesome. I’m so happy about it, and I also love that Luke and Jenny were as intense as they were,” Cusimano said.
Spehlmann also referenced the role that competition played in pushing both teams above and beyond.
“Once I got going it was just like, well you know, other people are running a marathon, so I’ll run a marathon too and I just kept going after it, because I felt all right. It was really fun,” Spehlmann said.
Cusimano said that while he does enjoy running, he had not trained seriously due to his workload, while Spehlmann said that he had not trained for the event in particular, but has been training for distance events and plans on participating in a 50-mile race next year.
The runners started Friday afternoon and continued through early Saturday morning. Though he was in pain from the feat, Cusimano still participated in the Day of Service held on Saturday,
“I was hurting pretty bad and not just soreness. There was something up with my foot, so after my service ended at 8 a.m. and I took a couple hour nap, I woke up and couldn’t really walk,” Cusimano said. “I couldn’t get my foot in my running shoe, so I actually went to the hospital Saturday morning. I thought I had a stress fracture. It turns out that wasn’t the case. There was just a lot of swelling and some bruising inside.”
Maintaining emotional control was paramount in continuing the course, which was held on the 400 meter track.
“While running you go through a lot of emotions, first arriving you’re moving and you’re really excited, you hit the first wall and then you ask, ‘Why am i doing this?’ … Then you start walking and you realize that you’re still going further. I think that the worst part about it was that it was on a 400-meter track, just over and over and over and over again. I was really exhausted by the end of it, and I had been hallucinating a little bit actually,” Cusimano said.
Spehlmann stressed a similar message.
“I just tried to keep any negative thoughts out. If you start thinking negative thoughts, then you kind of spiral downwards, and I knew that that’s when you get injured, that’s when you can hurt yourself, so I was just trying to stay happy no matter what,” Spehlmann said.