Monday, January 3, 2011

Run Across Ethiopia Expedition Sets Off

TRAVERSE CITY, MI -- On The Ground (OTG) is pleased to announce that the Michigan based nonprofit sets in motion its Run Across Ethiopia (RAE) expedition during the first week of January 2011.  Monday January 3rd, the organization’s advance team leaves Traverse City for Addis Ababa.  Two days later on Wednesday January 5th, the second wave of participants heads across the Atlantic, including ten runners preparing for their 250+ mile run from Addis Ababa to Yirgacheffe, raising money and awareness for education needs.
The team will spend several days in Addis Ababa acclimating their bodies to the 8500’ elevation and equatorial climate.  On Friday January 9th, the team will rise at dawn and take their first steps on their 250 mile running expedition.  OTG plans on providing up to the minute reporting via our website, blogs, Twitter feed, and other sources.  They will also provide a special feed for media outlets looking to cover the event.
The RAE team, made up of endurance athletes representing four U.S. communities including northwest Michigan (6 runners) central Ohio (1 runner), Charleston, South Carolina (2 runners), and Houston, Texas (one runner).  Among the team are northern Michigan business leaders, corporate CEOs, financial experts, language professionals, a recent college graduate, a police officer, and a fitness guru.  What they have in common is a passion for running and for making the world a better place for less fortunate people.
The team has been coached by world famous ultra endurance athlete Ray Zahab, who was featured in the documentary Running the Sahara.  Ray has helped the team prepare themselves by designing a rigorous training regimen, making recommendations for nutrition and recovery, but perhaps most importantly making key suggestions for how the team interacts with each other during their 250 + mile event.  “One of the most important things you’ll do is to develop strong relationships with your team before you leave,” said Zahab.  He also added one of his more famous quotes, “The challenge is believing that overcoming obstacles is 90% mental, and the other 10% is all in your heads.” 
The team, led by Michigan entrepreneurs Chris Treter and Timothy Young, starts running on Friday January 9th.  Treter, Young, and the rest of the team will be reporting back several times each day to On The Ground headquarters in Traverse City, Michigan.  OTG will be hosting a special webpage, “RAE LIVE”, with up to the minute reports from Ethiopia as they become available.   Part-way through their expedition the team will be joined by family members including four school children from northwest Michigan.  These children will be collecting their own stories and reporting back to school kids at home with blog posts, video diaries, and Skype broadcasts. 
Each of the ten runners on the team were required to raise $15,000 in cash to help build the three schools with OTG’s partner agencies in Ethiopia.  At this date all indications are that the organization will make its $175,000 goal by the end of January 2011.  Dena Piecuch, RAE team member and Charleston, SC police officer, says “Raising such a large sum of money for such a great cause, by running across Ethiopia, is an experience that will make so many other things in life seem insignificant. To say you have been apart of something that is so much bigger then yourself, is a humbling feeling.”

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