This weekend was the annual Race Across Michigan, or RAM, organized by the University of Michigan Running Club. This event was created my Junior year in College when a fellow running club friend and I got the crazy idea that our team could make it from Detroit to South Haven in one day, relay style. It was decided that the event could also be used to raise money for charities that our club felt passionate about in the process. After months of planning and crossing fingers that no one would get hit by cars, we made it the 187 miles to the beach at South Haven 23 hours and 19 minutes after we started, raising over $5,000 for Girls on The Run.
Four years later, this crazy dream has become a main event in the running club calendar. I am so proud of the team for continuing to put in the effort to make RAM possible, and that everyone is enjoying it just as much as we did the first time. It was events like this that shaped both my college experience but also how I felt about running. In this way, running is a way to achieve more as a collective than by yourself with an individual goal. Learning how something that can be very individual and competitive can be made into a selfless event and a way to deeply connect as a team in the name of fun.
This year I met up with the relay in Comstock at around midnight on bike to help them navigate through Kalamazoo and get onto the Kal-Haven trail, which they followed for the rest of their journey to the lakeshore. The next 4 hours was like a flashback to club life again, swapping race stories, jamming out to the music provided by the sag cars, and catching up on what was happening with everyone’s life. I was thrilled to be caught up in the excitement, even at 5am everyone was still going strong. Pranks and dance-offs were happening well into the night, as well as groups of die hards continuing to squeeze in their weekly long run into the 24 hour extravaganza. Of course, I would expect nothing less from this crazy group. This year it took the team 23 hours and 28 minutes to reach their destination, raising over $8,000 for Special Olympics. What an accomplishment, congrats guys!