Finishing strong: Friends, family help Husker complete virtual half-marathon

· 4 min read

Finishing strong: Friends, family help Husker complete virtual half-marathon

Audrey Kreun
Courtesy | Audrey Kreun
Audrey Kreun, a first-year accounting major at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, recently ran a virtual half-marathon through Campus Recreation. Kreun is pictured here with her father, Mark, who was one of many family members and friends who cheered her on during the event.

Finish strong.

It’s a motto that Audrey Kreun, a first-year accounting major at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, has kept in mind while completing remote coursework from her hometown of Hull, Iowa, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the virus shut down Kreun’s plans to run her first half-marathon this spring, she was determined to complete the race anyway — and found an opportunity through Campus Recreation’s virtual run challenge.

“I’m a very goal-oriented person, and having a goal to work toward helps me keep going and helps me stay disciplined,” Kreun said. “I was like, ‘I should just work toward a half-marathon anyway, and if I do it by myself, I do it by myself.’

“I saw at the beginning of quarantine that (Campus Rec) was going to do this, and I’ve been running consistently anyway. You send in your screenshot of your run and a picture from something about your run, and I was like, ‘Well, that’s easy enough.’ I mean, I might as well send in the runs I’m already doing and try to win a T-shirt or something.”

The virtual challenge, which took place in April, called on students to run 13.1 cumulative miles throughout the month. Kreun decided to tackle it all at once to meet her half-marathon goal.

When Kreun’s mother Julie heard about her interest in participating, she set up a Facebook event with the day and time of the race, inviting friends and family from across town to stand outside and cheer. One friend even drove to eight different locations throughout Kreun’s route to show support.

Audrey Kreun
Courtesy | Audrey Kreun
To encourage Kreun during her run, friends and family decorated their driveways with chalk messages.

“Some people made signs, some people did chalk and one of (my mom’s) friends played ‘Rocky’ music on their loudspeaker outside their house when I ran by,” Kreun said. “One of her friends set up a drink stand, like what they do for actual races, and passed me a cup of water as I ran past.”

Because Kreun’s hometown is only about 3 miles wide, creating a 13.1 mile-route required some creativity.

“I couldn’t make a big loop or anything, so it was just a lot of backtracking,” Kreun said. “I think there were certain streets I went on maybe two or three times.”

Kreun’s mother and a friend from high school biked alongside her during the entire race, helping her stay entertained and pushing her to the finish line.

“It ended up being so fun for them, because everyone was cheering and my mom got to see her friends,” Kreun said. “My mom and my friend were like my live podcast. They just talked and I listened, since half the time I couldn’t really talk.”

While she’s looking forward to running an official half-marathon when social distancing measures are over, Kreun said the race was an enjoyable way to stay connected with her campus community in Lincoln and see more of her loved ones at home.

“We kind of made that race atmosphere as best we could, even though it was just me,” Kreun said. “It was really fun.”

Audrey Kreun
Courtesy | Audrey Kreun
Kreun stands with her mother, Julie, and dog, Jasper, at the end of her race.

The virtual race is among a range of fitness, wellness and intramural programs Campus Recreation is offering online. Learn more about those programs — which include a remote golf challenge, recipe preparation and group fitness courses.

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