This Friday, 62 Pi Kappa Alpha brothers will wake up at 4 a.m. to head to Ohio State University.
The brothers will be starting the Second Annual Charity Football Run and are predicted to arrive 30 hours later in Columbus, Ohio, where the Michigan football team will be playing rival Ohio State. Each brother will run a leg in the 187-mile relay.
Baxter Allen, an LSA senior and member of the fraternity, is running three miles for the cause. “We are really excited. It’s a fun way to raise money,” said Allen, who started conditioning for the event at the beginning of the semester.
LSA junior Matt Reed, a member of the fraternity, is set to run 15 miles, the most of all the participants, before handing the football to the next runner. Last year he ran 30 miles from Ohio State to the Pi Kappa Alpha house in Ann Arbor, Allen said.
C.J. Johnson, LSA senior and president of Pi Kappa Alpha, said he is excited to run his 10 miles of the relay but is nervous about the cold weather conditions during the early morning. “The hardest part of the run, for me at least, is not the distance part of it … but rather the fact that the temperature late at night during the 30-hour run can fall to below freezing, especially with the wind chill,” said Johnson, who has been running every day to prepare for the relay. The event will raise an estimated $10,000 — five times as much as the $2,000 that last year’s run brought, said LSA sophomore Jon Krasnov, a member of the fraternity.
The money raised will be donated to The Coach Carr Cancer Fund, started in 1998 by Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr. The fund originated with a donation Carr gave to the University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center after his mother died of breast cancer. Housed within the center, the cancer fund continues to provide money that helps finance care and support for cancer patients and their families.
“This money is going to impact patients and families right here in the state,” said Janet Roth, development officer of the cancer center. “This is a big contribution in a lot of ways. It is significant because these are students with busy lives … and they have invested a lot of time and energy. It’s not just the time involved with the actual running down to Columbus.”
Krasnov said he is excited about raising money for the cancer fund while putting the rivalry to good use. “Our vision is to continue to raise money for the Coach Carr Cancer Fund and to further enrich the tradition of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry by one day running the ball into the stadium before kick-off.”
The ball is run from the University chapter of the fraternity to the Ohio State chapter. The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity on Ohio State’s campus is not participating in the fundraiser but is planning a reception for the incoming runners.
To raise money, the University chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha has sought donations from alumni brothers and their families and friends as well as by asking door-to-door. The fraternity will be accepting donations until tomorrow night.
This year it has decided to offer incentives to the largest donors; fleece sweatshirts will be given to the five largest contributors. The fraternity would like to see the funds reach $50,000 and beyond in the next few years as recognition expands, Krasnov added.
He said he also would like the relay to help bring awareness to positive events in which the Greek system participates, in response to the negative attention given to fraternities for hazing allegations. But, he added, “the most rewarding aspect is the money raised is going to cancer patients and their families.”