It was just the two of them running nearly a marathon a day for 61 days, but as they crossed the finish line side-by-side with arms raised, smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes, they knew they were never alone – and that their cause was worth it.
Surrounded with support from more than 50 Oregon State faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members, Exercise and Sport Science students Jeremiah and Isaiah Godby took the final steps of the Health Extension Run 2014 at the College of Public Health and Human Sciences’ VIP accreditation celebration Sept. 5.
“It feels awesome,” Jeremiah says. “There were a lot of emotions – especially when Dean Bray came up and hugged us in the very beginning of the celebration. It was a lot of hard work and a long journey. It’s a big accomplishment, and it was amazing to see all of those people cheering us on at the finish line.”
But as they say, this is only the beginning of a lifetime of spreading health awareness.
“The running ended on September 5, but our mission will never end,” Jeremiah says. “This is what we live for. This is what we do. Health is our thing. The running will always go on, the health awareness will always go on, and we’re already thinking about other ways to do something similar to raise awareness.”
It all started with an idea. The boys wanted to be bold. They wanted to encourage others to be healthy. They wanted to make a difference. So they took that idea to College of Public Health and Human Sciences Dean Tammy Bray. And from there, the rest is history.
“She gave us the time, she listened, and she made it happen,” Isaiah says.
“When we went to pitch it to the dean, we weren’t really sure exactly what we were going to do,” Jeremiah says. “But she is such a visionary and put everything in action. Here we are two months later – and look what we’ve accomplished!”
They left the MU Quad on July 7 with fanfare and began their nearly 1,600-mile journey across Oregon, stopping at local Extension offices on the way.
As special guests of honor, the brothers were greeted with open arms by Health Extension faculty at 30 of Oregon’s 36 counties. They participated in meet and greets, barbecues, fun runs and obstacle courses and encouraged community members to join them to learn more about healthy lifestyles. In addition, they partnered with the OSU Alumni Association for alumni events in Boise, ID, and Newport.
“Not only did we spread the word about the College of Public Health and Human Sciences’ new accreditation and the positive impact that will have on communities near and far, we also wanted people to take away that you don’t have to run a marathon a day like we were doing to be healthy, you just need to eat healthy and be active,” Isaiah says. “We hope we inspired people to eat more fruits and vegetables, have a low sugar intake and have fun while being active. Whether that’s with running or Zumba, exercise shouldn’t be boring or a punishment, it should be fun and make you feel good.”
During the past two months, the brothers pushed their limits to make a difference for others. Despite running through record high temps and overcoming injuries, the Godbys say highlights of the Health Extension Run include the friendships they made, support they received, stories they heard and most importantly, the immediate personal impact they made on others.
“Just being able to see the kids at the Boys and Girls Club in Hillsboro go out and run right after we spoke with them was amazing,” Isaiah says. “It was so great to see that they were actually listening to what we were saying and were actually going to do something about it to be healthier.”
Following in their father’s footsteps, CPHHS ’79 alum Dennis Godby, the brothers plan to become naturopathic doctors after graduating with Exercise and Sport Science degrees. They already have their next run planned – a 10K later this month.
Watch the video below to see the runners in action and check out the slideshow below. Photos in slideshow courtesy Tyler Roemer, TylerRoemer.com.