If this month-long focus on Alex’s Great State Race has shown us anything, it is that wonderful things can be done through perseverance. This can be defined as “continued effort to do or achieve something, despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.” In our second week, we saw that Alex overcame obstacles to achieve his dream of becoming a Spartan, despite his cancer diagnosis and treatment. Throughout those incredibly challenging times, he remained focused on his goal and made the most of the time he had been given. We strived to do the same with this event we run each year in his honor.

Runners carrying the US Flag during the 2019 Alex’s Great State Race in Ann Arbor

While most of the early years of Alex’s Great State Race went off without a hitch, 2019 and 2020 have more than made up for any lack of challenges. In 2019, during Race week, we had to make significant changes to how the Race would be done due to inclement weather. A safe run from East Lansing to Ann Arbor would not be possible because of several inches of snow and ice on the roads. So, in true Alex fashion, we adapted, changing the Race structure just days before to instead be run primarily at U-M. In the wee hours of that Friday morning, after running a ceremonial lap around “Sparty,” the tenacious Spartan Battalion boarded a Dean Trailways coach and was taken comfortably to Ann Arbor. Once there, they joined their U-M counterparts and ran the first leg of the 64-mile run around the famed Diag. Their run continued throughout the morning and afternoon, with many runners completing more than 20 miles each. Their extra efforts further echoes Alex’s extraordinary quality of continuing to try to do something, even when it is difficult. Expand the accordions below to see the cadets at key stages of 2019’s Race.

AGSR 2019 – MSU and U-M cadets launch from U-M’s Diag
Running Proudly for Alex

To learn more about 2019’s exceptional race, read mlive’s account of the event.

In 2020, we all experienced the shared challenge in the form of a novel pandemic and the resultant shutdown of many aspects of our lives. Early in the planning phases of that year, we had hoped to conduct the Race as normal. However, as the months went on, it became clear that this would not be possible. So, a thoughtful examination of what is truly important and awe-inspiring about this event led us to wholeheartedly pivot toward a focus on all the good that has been achieved with the dedicated help of so many. This event has been truly magical in its life-changing impact on the lives of many: planners, participants, sponsors, donors, and beneficiaries. We chose to use this month to say “Thank You” to all our supporters.