Andrews Academy physical education department sponsored a half-marathon race tour to the Cincinnati area in May 2019. This is a new tour for AA that Mrs. Mills, AA PE teacher, thought of and organized. She and a group of sponsors and students traveled to Cincinnati for a half-marathon race that occurred on Sunday, May 5, 2019. Students in this class have been running a lot as they prepared for this new tour that is now offered as part of the outdoor education tours, in addition to the backpacking and mountain biking tours to Tennessee that have alternated every other year.
Day 1 (Thursday, May 2) of the Running Tour 2019 in Cincinnati, OH: We had a wonderful day full of laughs. We visited the Creation Museum and then settled into the "Welcome House" were we were staying each night.
Day 2 (Friday, May 3) of Running tour: We started out with the Welcome House in Covington, KY. Their mission is to help eradicate poverty and homelessness in the northern KY border, one family at a time. The marketing director, Sarah, spent some time in the beginning describing some of the major challenges and hurdles that people have to go through in order to live. She explained how their organization helps the homeless find homes, find and sustain a job, provide beds at a woman’s shelter they run, and aid the clients by providing food and other daily necessities. Currently, they have 110 families in their care and are looking to expand by having a men’s shelter, which currently does not exist in northern KY. Our group was more than happy to help by organizing and sifting through the donations to allow the social workers ease of access to the items. Welcome House accepts new donations to show the respect and keep dignity intact for their clients. A recommendation that Sarah gave to all of us that want to donate to organizations is to call ahead and find out what the need is. Their specific need was air mattresses, and most donors don’t think of that. If you would like to know more about this awesome organization or to donate, go to their website at www.welcomehouseky.org.
The second part of the day started at an amazing park that overlooked Cincinnati, and then we headed to Duke Energy Center to pick up our race paraphernalia as well as some freebies and other race vendor items. It was very enjoyable to be surrounded by people that share a common interest and passion for running. We were able to meet the very first registered runner to the race which took place 21 years ago. We concluded the day with a wonderful and vibrant song service and worship. Our worship always includes testimonials from each person reflecting on their day and what made an impact on them. I would consider today to be a very successful day on the tour.
Day 3 (Sabbath, May 4) of the tour took us to The Ark Encounter in KY. We began the day with a scrumptious breakfast, song service, and worship. We then made our way to The Ark Encounter, where we were able to get the full experience of the Flood as it rained for the third day. The physical Ark is awesome in size and detail through the woodwork and the exhibits. Then there was included an interactive worship experience after lunch where the students were placed in groups and answered questions based on the different exhibits. Next, we left the Ark and headed back into Cincinnati to the pasta dinner hosted by The Flying Pig (marathon organizer). The students ate their fill of carbs in preparation for the race, but they were anxious to return to the house to relax and prepare for the next day’s activities. We concluded the day with a wonderful worship of song and a presentation from one of the groups in which their subject was, “The relevance of the Bible.” Overall, the day was a fun and rich day of blessings and more time spent together creating memories.
Day 4 (Sunday, May 5) RACE DAY! The day started at 3:45 a.m. The students grabbed a quick bite to eat and their belongings for the day, and we left the house at 4:30 a.m. in order to find parking. Although it was early, we were all awake with excitement and anticipation for the race. This was the first half-marathon for all of the students, and expectations were a part of the unknown, but that only fueled their excitement. We said our goodbyes until the end of the race and made way to our “pig pens” or corrals. Throughout the race, there was an abundance of people cheering us on with high fives, signs, noise makers, and smiles. Every student successfully persevered to the “Finish Swine,” where they were greeted with their medals and food and freebies. According to The Flying Pig website, there were 43,691 participants making for the largest race in its 21-year history. Following the race, we made our way back to the house, and most students napped away the afternoon. The evening concluded with a celebratory dinner at Olive Garden, and the second group presenting their interactive worship on “The Flood.” Months of preparation led to a successful race day. Congratulations to all of the students and sponsors completing their race.
Day 5 (Monday, May 6) Time to go home! The last day started with cleaning the beautiful house we stayed in and having worship on the sunny front step. We appreciated some beautiful weather just in time to drive four hours back to Berrien Springs. At 4:45 p.m., we returned with 13 tired students and chaperones to their homes in time to get some more sleep and get back to school.
Thank you Mrs. Mills for writing the account of this tour for all of us to enjoy, and for organizing this very successful first running tour for AA. For many more photos, please go to Facebook.