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While some of us are embracing winter by ditching the gym and watching the Walking Dead, Brandy Hagel, a third-year UBCO nursing student, is busy training to run across Haiti this coming February.
She is part of Team Tassy, a fundraising group where volunteers complete an eight-day, 371-kilometre ultra-marathon across the entire country to raise money for the creation of sustainable jobs for families in Haiti.
The project was a natural fit.
"It pairs my passion for running with my passion for helping people,” said Hagel, who will also compete in the Boston Marathon next April.
After seeing a video posted by fellow UBCO student and Team Tassy member Paige Marzinzik, Hagel was instantly inspired to get involved in the project.
“Team Tassy has a mission to get these families out of poverty and the only way we can sustainably do that is through job creation," said Hagel, who’s goal is to raise at least $3,800 that will go into job training for the families with hopes of setting them up with a sustainable year-round source of income.
Hagel spent time over the summer in Haiti doing charity work with families in the community of Menelas. Watching Hurricane Matthew devastate the country in October only increased Hagel’s drive to help the third world country.
"It really felt like it hit my own home," she said. “They are working so hard to get out of poverty and everything they have accomplished so far was just taken away from them again, it’s just devastating."
The devastation only increased Hagel’s drive to join Team Tassy in completing the ultra marathon.
"It’s tough running alone for four hours Saturday and Sunday mornings, but I’m so passionate about the project that it’s not something I have to do, it’s something I want to do."
You can help Hagel raise funds for Team Tassy through her Crowdrise page. She will also be doing a 12 hour run-a-thon this Saturday at lululemon.
What’s a run-a-thon? Hagel will have two treadmills set up in the store with a couple team members who will tag off during the day, so one treadmill will always be going for 12 hours. The second treadmill can be for anyone who wants to run beside her and get some exercise while trying to raise some money for the families of Haiti.
Overall, Brandy is very excited about the project and is training hard to successfully complete the ultra-marathon but maintains the real goal is raising money for the families so each member has an opportunity to acquire a sustainable job and continuously better their life.