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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA alumnus fundraises to help refugees through 48 hour run

Ryan Revock
Ryan Revock/ Arizona Daily Wildcat John Grisham (center) along with Steve Dolan (left), who are honor students at UA Eller College of Management, present their plan for “Jerry’s Ultra Marathon” to their business communication professor Kim Marchesseault. The upcoming run will benefit the ARC Project Group and will be from 15th to the 17th.

A UA alumnus will run for 48 hours around the UA Mall to raise money for a student-run organization that provides services to resettled political refugees.

On April 15, Jerry Schuster, a 58-year-old substitute teacher for Tucson Unified School District, will run for the Arizona Resource Connection, a student organization that helps refugees in Tucson.

Jerry’s Ultramarathon, organized by Eller students Stephen Dolan, John Grisham, Zach Poll, Elena Urbina and Jinyeong Sohn, will prove to be both a logistical and physical test of endurance.

“It’s … the idea of going much further than people would ever think about … people can grasp a marathon. A lot of people do that,” Schuster said, “but once you start talking 24 hours and beyond, now you’re getting into a different realm.”

Schuster, who said he trains by putting in miles whenever he can, has completed so many ultramarathons that he’s lost track. Having broken 100 miles four different times in a 24-hour period, Schuster said he believed that, while “prediction is a dangerous game,” he has yet to hit his prime.

While his best times remain ahead, this ultramarathon marks the third time Schuster has run for the ARC. He said his desire to help the student-run organization began after interactions with resettled political refugees in his classrooms. He observed firsthand the challenges refugees had to overcome.

The team’s goal is to raise $2,500, get 20 additional runners and receive at least that amount of email addresses from people interested in helping ARC, according to Poll, a junior studying business economics and entrepreneurship.

As Schuster repeatedly runs a .54-mile loop around the center of campus, only interrupted by bathroom and food breaks, the team will be operating a booth on the Mall, speaking about the ARC, hosting raffles and featuring a possible talk from refugee advocate Sahra Hirsi, among other activities.

“All of us have had experience raising money hosting our own events, but obviously it’s a new challenge since it’s such a long event that goes continuously,” Poll said.

To prepare for the 48-hour challenge, the team has worked hard to advertise, find volunteers, and get donations prior to the event, according to Grisham, a management information systems junior. They are also looking for 20 additional runners to keep Schuster company.

“I am so excited that this event will directly help refugees by providing them with goods or services they need,” said Jinyeong Sohn, a business economics junior in an emailed statement.

While Schuster doesn’t have any pre-run rituals or meals, he warmed up with a 12-hour run benefiting the Special Olympics at Tucson High Magnet School’s track last Friday.

As both Schuster and the team of students prepare for the upcoming two-day adventure, both are excited knowing the difference their efforts will make.

“Tucson is known throughout the country as one of the hot spots for political refugees,” Poll said. “Which I think speaks volumes about the character of Tucson and what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to accomplish.”

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