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Aug. 28, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Ten runners, predominantly Nittany Lion alumni, are amidst a record-setting journey this week, attempting to break the world record for the 1,000-mile relay. The event, which is sponsored by the Kevin Dare Foundation and the Life... Back on Track Scholarship Fund, is scheduled to end this Friday afternoon at Nittany Lion Track, beginning at approximately 2:00 p.m. Following a small ceremony at the University of Minnesota Field House - the site of Dare's tragic death at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in 2002 - on Monday morning, the Life... Back on Track relay team began the 1,000-mile effort in Prescott, Wisc., and will run around the clock until all 1,000 miles have been completed.
Former Nittany Lion graduate Ryan Foster, who has worked as an assistant at the Kevin Dare Foundation over the past year, has served as the event's organizer, following a stellar Penn State career from 2008-2011. Foster won a total of four Big Ten titles - the most of any male athlete in the program's history - and was also a three-time All-American during his NIttany Lion career.
Also running are 2012 graduates Vince McNally, Kyle Dawson and Owen Dawson. McNally and Kyle Dawson are no strangers to the longer miles, as McNally qualified for four-straight NCAA Cross Country Championships, and Kyle Dawson - the 2008 Big Ten Freshman of the Year - was a three-time NCAA cross country participant. Owen Dawson, who was also an NCAA cross country qualifier and NCAA All-Region finisher, found success in the middle distance, as an All-American in the 800-meters in 2010.
Fellow participants Brian Fuller, Teddy Quinn, and Dennis Pollow - all 2009 graduates - were also accomplished distance standouts over their Penn State careers, as all three were members of the Lions' NCAA-qualifying cross country squad in 2008.
Filling out the final three spots on the 10-man roster are former Notre Dame standout Luke Watson, who is currently pursuing his PhD in accounting at Penn State, as well as former Lock Haven stars Ryan Blood and Nick Hilton.
The mission of the Kevin Dare Foundation and Life... Back on Track is to help athletes with debilitating injuries/illness, through financial scholarships, achieve their academic goals in memory of the life of Kevin Dare - a legacy of integrity, inspiration, and indomitable spirit - to get Life...back on track.
The Foundation's goal is to provide an opportunity to outstanding high school students, exhibiting the courage, strength, and fortitude to rise to the challenges of their situation and still have the determination and will to achieve the academic success that they had always hoped to accomplish. It is our hope that as scholarship recipients become alumni recipients, this inspirational group will, in turn, help to support others in achieving their dreams.
For more on the run, log on to the Foundation's website at www.lifebackontrack.com, and on Twitter (@lifebackontrack).