Sept. 16, 2004
Tallahassee, Fla. - Many in the Florida State community have been devastated by hurricanes that have hit the southeast United States. The Seminole family has dealt with the safety of not only student-athletes, staff members and administration but their families as well in addition to rescheduling athletic events and possible evacuation. With all of this affecting their surroundings, the FSU cross country team decided to contribute this year's donations from the Across the State Relay to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which is currently setting up shelters and providing assistance to those who were affected by Hurricane Charlie and Frances. The Seminoles will host the fourth annual Across the State Relay this Saturday, September 18, 2004.
"It's great that this year because our student-athletes chose the American Red Cross to help the hurricane victims," said head coach Bob Braman, who started the event in 1981 when he was the president of the Tampa Bay Runners' Club. "We feel like if we can help a little in what's going on around us then the race takes on extra significance. The student-athletes are raising money more actively and getting a stronger response in hopes that we can raise the most money ever. The hurricanes really hit home for some of the runners on are team and have family located across the state of Florida. We've been fortunate because Tallahassee hasn't been hit that hard. But look at where we're running - Crystal River is still flooded in most parts and some of the hotels in Daytona Beach aren't even open because of damage. It means a lot more running this year."
Their annual charity fundraiser, the Across the State Relay, is a 13-hour, 140-mile journey this from Yankeetown to Daytona Beach. Members of the cross-country team will race in pairs starting from the small Gulf-Coast community, completing the final leg on the east coast of Florida. The first pair will start by dipping a half-liter water bottle "baton" into the Crystal River. From there the pairs will run across the panhandle through back roads and forested scenery in light traffic areas, in four to eight-mile increments. The runners will be accompanied by two vans throughout the course of the relay. The final leg will have the runners dip the bottle into the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach. Joining them at the end of the journey will be the remaining members of the team who will then dive into the ocean.
The goal of the marathon is not only to raise money to benefit local charities within the Tallahassee area but to raise team morale.
"It's a good team building event--kids get to rally behind something together," said head cross country coach Bob Braman.
"Typically there are two vans going at once, one behind which is the trainer and medical team, and one in the front, which is the lead vehicle--that's me," explained coach Braman.
Braman started the event at FSU in 2001 when he became the head cross country coach. The idea came from Braman's days in Tampa, Fla. As founder and president of the Tampa Bay runners club years ago, he had heard of a group of marathon runners who were running 40 miles per day.
"There were guys who were ultra marathoners who ran across the state - literally. Our group went on to sponsor it as an adult club relay event that took two days. When I moved up here, I started thinking about the logistics and what it would take to start the event here," said Braman.
Seminole cross country has since donated more than $7,000 to local charities over the past two years the event. In 2001, $2,000 was donated to The United Way and Red Cross for the September 11th relief fund. In 2002, the team donated $2,500 to the Howser Center named for the former FSU baseball coach, which provides services for children and individuals with disabilities and their families. FSU cross country also made a donation of $2,500 to Capital City Youth Services, which helps runaways, youth and families with domestic problems.
The decision of where to donate the money is decided by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representatives on the cross country team, a group of student-athletes who make recommendations to the athletic department, who vote on which two organizations will split the donations raised from the event.
The cross-country athletic budget will fund the costs of the event, which include hotel rooms and accompanying vans. This year, each runner's goal is to raise $140 through sponsorship.
For more information, please contact the Florida State Cross Country and Track and Field office at (850) 644-3270.