When senior Ivan Santagiuliana’s grandparents in Italy died from complications of coronavirus, his teammates on the Grace College men’s soccer team could not rally around him as they normally would.
Instead of living, studying and training together on their campus in Winona Lake, Indiana, the team is currently scattered around the U.S. and the world, finishing their coursework from home and practicing social distancing.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t also find ways to support their teammates, or have a positive impact on the world, during their time apart. When head coach Arron Patrick came up with the idea for the team to raise money for COVID-19 relief, sophomore Tyler Brueckman took the idea and ran with it — literally.
With Brueckman organizing, the team initially agreed to participate in a 48-hour relay run and collect donations via GoFundMe. Starting at noon on Wednesday, April 1, team members would take turns running around their neighborhoods in 20-minute shifts, ending at noon Friday.
But, after the first 24 hours passed, they were so encouraged by tremendous community support and a rapid increase in giving that they decided to make their relay a full week around the clock.
“Running is a part of our sport,” said sophomore Cole Voss. “It’s just something that we do. Since God gave us the ability to run, why not do it and help others?”