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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

GROVER: An Al’s Run/Walk to remember

EricGroverIn all my years of attending Marquette, I had never participated in Briggs and Al’s Run/Walk, a charity run-walk started by the late Al McGuire 32 years ago. So when some friends asked me to go with them on Saturday, I was excited. I was finally going to do Al’s Run. My Marquette experience would be complete.

Then I found I had a dentist appointment during the exact same time as the race. And you can’t move around a dentist appointment. It’s like taking your name off the Green Bay Packer season ticket waiting list. You’ll get another chance in 30 years, but why risk it?

So instead of Al’s Run, I drove to the dentist. And it was terrible. Not only did I not race, I had a cavity. I haven’t had a cavity since I was 9 years old. I didn’t even get a sticker. I was pissed.

So while I was being manhandled with sharp metal objects, over 14,500 people lined up at 12th and Wisconsin for Al’s Run. But little did they know that after everyone crossed the finish line that day, the race wasn’t quite over. That’s because on Sunday afternoon, one more person stepped up to the starting line. Me.

That’s right, on Sunday I ran the five-mile race by myself. And it nearly killed me.

Let me give you a little background. I am not a runner. I am not in shape. I am a gangly asthmatic who has never run more than a mile at a time in my life. I was going to die. But hey, it’s for a good cause.

The event raises money for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, which is a great cause for some needy children. In fact, this year alone over one million dollars was raised. Just amazing.

“We have over 300,000 visits to the hospital every year, and we’re expected to provide great care,” said Stacey Bartsch, Special Events Manager for Children’s Hospital. “And because of events like Al’s Run, we’re able to do so.”

I was able to raise a little money myself, which basically consisted of guilting my parents into donating. What are they going to do, NOT help sick kids? My point exactly.

So, to train and prepare for this run, I did … nothing. And when I woke up Sunday morning, I had a nutritious breakfast of … nothing. Not only that, I was completely exhausted from the Miley Cyrus concert the night before. Oh, man. There are certain things you should never joke about, and going to see Hannah Montana is one of them. I had the misfortune of hearing that song of hers, and it’s like listening to a banshee screaming in your ear.

Wearing my custom-made Al’s Run shirt, I started off about 12:15 p.m. It took literally 15 seconds before I was almost hit by a car, which is too bad, because I definitely could have used some settlement money.

I started off pretty strong for the first mile or so, but it didn’t last. I took my first water break near the Wells Fargo building. It would be the first of many.

I won’t bore you with a lot of details, but to say I struggled to complete this thing was an understatement. Near the end, it was basically me running for short little bursts, and then walking it off until I could do it again. Also, everything kept going wrong. The straps on this tote bag I brought kept breaking, so I had to carry it in my arms. That was fun. Also, my iPod died about halfway through, so instead of being distracted by music I had to constantly think about how exhausted I was. And I ran on the wrong side on Lincoln Memorial Drive somehow, and had to keep dodging cars and trees.

It took me about an hour (don’t judge me), but I finally reached the Summerfest grounds, Saturday’s finish line. And as I collapsed on a parking barrier and waited for my super-annoyed friend to come get me, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

I knew Al would be proud. Sort of.

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