If you’re going through Hell, Michigan, keep going. That’s exactly what the members of Hillsdale’s Outdoor Adventure Club did this past weekend.
In its first event of the year, Hillsdale College Outdoor Adventures Club organized a group of students to race in the 10th annual Run Woodstock Trail Runs. Senior Emma McCormick, the club president, ran the 50 mile race and placed second in her age group. Associate Professor of Economics Charles Steele, the club’s advisor, ran the 50K (31 miles) and placed second in his age group. Junior Karissa McCarthy and seniors Josh Bailey and Lauren Schlientz participated in the marathon and placed first, second, and second in their age groups, respectively. Senior R.J. Norton participated in the half marathon and placed first in her age group.
This weekend’s excursion was McCormick’s second time at the Run Woodstock Trail Runs and her second time running 50 miles at once. While she did not run competitively in high school or college, McCormick said she has always made running a part of her life.
“When I run, it’s time to myself,” she said.
She added that running clears her mind, and without that time to sort through her thoughts, it can take longer to fall asleep.
Finishing a 50 mile run in 10 hours was not easy, and McCormick said it was a feat she never envisioned accomplishing.
“If you had told me a year ago I would be running 50 miles I would have laughed at you,” she said.
But she said the pain and hard work were well worth the reward.
“After running 50 miles you kind of feel like anything is possible,” McCormick said.
Schlientz, a lifelong soccer devotee and participant in last weekend’s marathon, was not always drawn to the sport, and it took her father’s persistence to convince her to give it a try.
“I didn’t see the purpose in running,” Schlientz said.
She said her father used to go on evening runs and always encouraged her to come with him. She initially refused but compromised by agreeing to accompany him on his runs while riding alongside him on her bike.
Schlientz’s father eventually convinced her to run as a way to stay in shape during the off season for soccer, and she quickly fell in love with the sport. She now incorporates running in her life on a daily basis and looks forward to her morning runs with great anticipation.
“I just fell in love with it,” Schlientz said. “It’s amazing. You start off your day accomplishing something.”
She said that while she may not have been the most physically prepared for her race, she was thoroughly prepared mentally.
“It’s 70 percent mental — you just have to stay positive. You have to tell yourself, ‘I know I can do this,’” Schlientz said, adding that running has helped to strengthen her resolve and sharpen her determination, ultimately improving her character as a whole.
“It takes a lot to run 26 miles,” Schlientz said.