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Aug. 31, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - About 400 spectators witnessed a world record effort on Friday afternoon at Nittany Lion Track, as the Life... Back on Track relay team completing off the final stages of their 1,000-mile effort, in 95 hours, three minutes, and one second, unofficially. The team was comprised of mostly Nittany Lion alumni, along with some help from a pair of Lock Haven graduates.
The 10-man relay was run in conjunction with Life... Back on Track, a non-profit organization - run by the Kevin Dare Foundation - that raises scholarship money to help high school students, who have been faced with hardships in their lives, pursue their college dreams. Kevin Dare, who was a standout athlete at State College High School, and Penn State University, was killed in a pole vaulting accident at the Big Ten Indoor Championships at the University of Minnesota in 2002. Symbolically, the 1,000-mile effort began with a small ceremony at the University of Minnesota Field House, before hitting the streets all the way to State College, Pa.
The event was organized by former Nittany Lion standout Ryan Foster, who served as an assistant at the Dare Foundation over the past year. Foster was a three-time All-American as a Nittany Lion, and won a total of four individual Big Ten titles. Foster led his other nine relay teammates on to Nittany Lion Track this afternoon, with a spirited crowd of friends and family ready and waiting for their return.
"We have to thank the most important person, the person who was really the genesis of this. When you think of our leader you think of Ryan Foster," said Ed Dare, Kevin's father. "If you could have been with us, this was the most incredible five days we have ever experienced and these are the most incredible 10 men you'd ever want to meet."
"Personally, I want to thank everyone for coming. It was as good a welcome as we could have imagined," said Foster after the finish of the relay. "This is something incredible that I really didn't think I'd do in my time, but it comes down to the core of it, and it was really all about Kevin."
Foster was joined by former Nittany Lion teammates Kyle Dawson, Owen Dawson, Brian Fuller, Teddy Quinn, Dennis Pollow and Vince McNally, all of whom enjoyed outstanding careers in the Blue and White, and all continue to race post collegiately. Also stepping up to assist were Lock Haven All-Americans Ryan Blood and Nick Hilton, as well as Notre Dame graduate Luke Watson, who is currently pursuing his PhD at Penn State.
To read more about the relay, or donate to the cause, log on to www.lifebackontrack.com.