The brothers of Oregon State University’s Kappa Omicron chapter of Phi Gamma fraternity plan to spend the Civil War football game in the sedentary fashion embraced by fans everywhere: Gathering to watch the televised game from the comfort of worn couches.
But Sunday, the men of Phi Gamma Delta marked the upcoming in-state battle with 41 miles of exercise.
Fraternity members ran, relay-style, from OSU’s Reser Stadium to Autzen Stadium in Eugene in an event dubbed the Oregon Cure Relay. The “baton” was a football that was exchanged at the end of each mile-long leg.
Sunday morning, 23 frat members gathered outside Reser Stadium in a cold, thick fog. While some members worked out logistics, others tossed around a football as a warm up.
Training for the relay had been minimal at best, said Brian Wehage, 24.
“We’re gonna use our natural athletic ability,” he said with a laugh.
Jamie Amrhein, 19, fought off the chill by wearing a total of seven layers of clothing, four on top and three on bottom.
Adrian Gonzalez took the first leg as the multi-vehicle caravan drove out. The relay followed Highway 99W to Eugene, with each member running one mile at a time.
The Oregon Cure Relay was the chapter’s main philanthropic event of the year, said philanthropy chair Bradley Barringer, 19. Members collected donations for for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which promotes cancer education and research.
By 9 a.m. Sunday, they’d raised almost $1,000.
Barringer said the idea for the relay came from Wehage.
“We were just looking for an interesting way to raise money,” Wehage said.
Wehage knew that other schools — including an other OSU, Ohio State — do relays as fundraising events.
“Hopefully it’ll become an annual event,” he said.
In the future, Phi Gamma Delta would like to possibly partner with other chapters, maybe even one from the University of Oregon.
“It’s something we can grow from here,” said Jared Blake, 22.
Many frat members were unavailable for the relay due to the Thanksgiving weekend. But they’ll have other chances to give back: Every member is expected to complete 32 hours of community service each term.
Donations for the Oregon Cure Relay are accepted until Dec. 3 and can be made online at www.fijiko.org/phil.