Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Walk to Believe: 5K for Eric LeGrand

Folks have a lot of reasons for running 5Ks. It's a challenge to get off the couch. It's a way to test your fitness without the grueling aspect of a marathon. It's just flat-out fun to be part of a race. But the best reason to run a 5K is for a cause that's near and dear to your heart.

As you probably know, I am a Rutgers alum and a die-hard fan of the Scarlet Knights football team. I've been with them through some down, down times. There was a winless season. There was a year we lost to the worst team in the country and then a lower-level team in successive weeks. There've been at least two heartbreaking losses with major bowl games on the line. But the most gut-wrenching day for every Loyal Son and Daughter I know was on October 16th, 2010.

That Saturday, Rutgers took on Army at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. It was a close game in which Rutgers mounted a late comeback. On an RU kickoff late in the game, Eric LeGrand raced down the field and made a jarring hit on Army returner Malcolm Brown. A hit so jarring, in fact, that it left Eric paralyzed.

But since that day, Eric has been a source of inspiration not just for Rutgers, but for the entire country. He refuses to let his injury keep him from his goals. He's been working hard at rehab for more than five years now. He's part of the radio announcer team at home football games. He graduated in 2014 and addressed his fellow classmates. He's written two books and is a constant presence on campus. He's won the Jimmy V Award for perseverance at the Espys, and he's the only Rutgers football player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. And just this month, during his commencement speech at Rutgers, President Obama said that Eric inspires him.

Eric is such a special and important part of the Rutgers community that it's only right that we do what we can for the cause most important to him. And so that's why I'll be running the 5K on June 5th at A Walk to Believe: One Step Closer for Eric LeGrand.

This year's event is the sixth annual walk, and the second year that it's been a USATF-certified 5K. Last year, runners and walkers raised $82,000 for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to benefit spinal cord research. In 2016, Eric has challenged us to clear $100,000 -- and we can do it with your help.

The course begins and ends at High Point Solutions Stadium on the Rutgers campus. It wends around the school's golf course and affords some pretty views -- and it's flat and fast. There are festivities before and after the race, and there are always past and present football stars who are more than happy to take a photo with you. And you'll surely get a chance to meet and talk to Eric himself.

You can sponsor my run by contacting me through Twitter or Facebook, or you can donate directly at AWalkToBelieve.org. And if you can come out on June 5th, please sign up. It's a great race and a great day.

So come on out and and RUn to bELieve!

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