St. Paul, Minn. (June 29, 2011) – Seven runners gathered at the starting line 6:00 a.m. on Saturday with a 100-mile run ahead of them and a 32-hour time limit to complete it. After months of preparation – including training runs at Afton Alps to acclimate to steep terrain – they were off. The team raced on a narrow dirt trail in the Black Hills of South Dakota, crossing waist-high rivers and expanses of sharp rock, climbing and descending 16,000 feet.
Over 90 runners began the race, but a storm blew through overnight bringing heavy fog and pelting the runners with hail. By Sunday morning, less than 30 runners were still competing.
The runners call themselves AD4AP, or All Day for Admission Possible, and include two Board members and five other supporters of the organization. In recognition of the challenges low-income students in Admission Possible face in pursuing a college degree, Team AD4AP ran in the Black Hills Ultramarathon on Saturday, raising over $64,000 for Admission Possible students. Including a matching grant from Otto Bremer Foundation for new donors, they raised more than $93,000, which will serve 60 students in the program.
Team AD4AP came prepared with family and friends to support them with meals, dry clothing and foot massages ready at each aid station. Their support team didn’t catch a wink of sleep as they drove to each aid station, prepared food, and posted updates and photos on Facebook through the night. Starting at the 50-mile mark, they ran alongside to coach and guide the runners to the finish line.
“The race is sort of a metaphor for the hardships that Admission Possible students go through,” said Board member Todd Firebaugh. “We committed to this to prove to the kids that even if things are tough you can push through.”
Firebaugh and Admission Possible supporter Scott Penticoff finished in fifth place at a time of 26 hours 45 minutes. Supporter Randy Kottke finished the race in 29 hours 20 minutes, and Board member Barry Nordstrand finished in just over 30 hours. Supporters Seth DeGroot, Stephen Byrnes and Paul Wehner ran a combined total of 223 miles, and braved serious physical challenges that ultimately forced them to stop before completing the 100-mile run.
“These runners took on a remarkable challenge,” said Sara Dziuk, Admission Possible Twin Cities Executive Director. “Their determination will inspire our students to see the power of hard work to achieve their goal of college success despite many obstacles. We are so grateful to AD4AP for their dedication to supporting our students and our mission.”
The Black Hills Ultramarathon followed the scenic Centennial Trail, a 111 mile trail spanning Custer State Park in the south to the summit of Bear Butte in the north. To learn more about AD4AP’s journey and the results of the race visit the AD4AP Facebook page.