Forget Nike. University alum Jordan Zlotoff said he wants to be sponsored by Snuggie. But for Zlotoff, even an oversized blanket with armholes probably won’t be much comfort as he participates in three marathons in just five weeks.
A graduate of the 2006 University graduate, Zlotoff is undertaking what some might consider appropriate only for a Navy Seal. This fall, he plans to run three marathons over a five-week period to raise money for a Washington D.C.-based organization called Men Can Stop Rape.
“I think my motivation goes back to the University of Michigan and taking some of my sociology classes is when I really started to understand the female experience in sexual assault,” Zlotoff said.
He’s worked at the D.C. Rape Crisis Center and had a recent internship with Men Can Stop Rape, a group Zlotoff said he had wanted to work with for a long time.
“The work that Men Can Stop Rape is doing really hit a chord in me because working at the Rape Crisis Center I really saw the issue from a victim’s perspective and from a victim’s services perspective and I wanted to do something that was true prevention,” he said. “Working not just to comfort and support survivors, which is incredibly important, but I wanted to work on actually preventing sexual assault and rape in the first place.”
According to its website, Men Can Stop Rape works with young men to prevent violence against women and challenges the established negative aspects of masculinity. The group encourages males to see their role as allies with women and girls in creating and fostering healthy relationships.
He said that in working at the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, he saw how much men can do in this issue.
“I was one of three male volunteers at the D.C. Rape Crisis Center out of probably 100 volunteers they have,” Zlotoff said. “I was just sort of immediately attracted to working on this issue because I saw so few men involved. I knew that men have such a huge potential impact that they can have in the field.”
When a student at the University, Zlotoff was involved in a dual degree program in Sociology and Earth Systems Engineering. He was also on the rowing team for his freshman and sophomore years and recently worked as a firefighter through AmeriCorps and the United States Foreign Service.
While it seems that running 78 miles in five weeks should be an undertaking for a seasoned veteran, Zlotoff ran his first marathon just two years ago and has been running ever since.
“The whole thing how I started to get three marathons all at once was the idea that if I’m going to invest three or four months training for just one marathon, I might as well do a couple while I’m in shape,” he said.
Zlotoff said there’s not much more to his training than running a lot.
“I have a running group that I run with from time to time, but really you just go out and run and as the marathon gets closer you run more miles,” he said.
With a goal of raising $2,500, Zlotoff is more than halfway there. He has created a website, www.racingtoendrape.com, where supporters can donate money or learn where they can donate their time.
In addition to running marathons for charity, Zlotoff is also working with students at the E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. as part of his self-proclaimed mission to save the world.
Zlotoff’s marathon of marathons begins on Oct. 18 at the Detroit Free Press Marathon. He will then return to D.C. for the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 25 and finish with the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 22.