2012 Graduate, Jenn Schulze, completes JFK 50 Mile Challenge

Christine Holtz

Brooke Smith, Sports Editor

In just under 18 hours, women’s lacrosse, and now RMU Alum, Jenn Schulze completed the JFK 50 Mile Challenge in Sneem, Ireland.  She completed the challenge with absolutely no training at all, while others in the walk had trained for months.

“I actually didn’t even find out about the walk until we were in the Pittsburgh airport on Tuesday,” said Schulze during the walk.  “At first I thought it had something to do with walking around the JFK airport.”

Schulze is in Sneem, Ireland completing her last three credits of her undergraduate degree on the photography study abroad program with Professor Christine Holtz.  She never expected to find herself in the position to participate in the walk.

“I said I wanted to try everything at least once, so I knew I wanted to make it as far as I could,” said Schulze.

When she hit the 35 mile mark, she realized that she had not gone as far as she thought she would and even though she had been walking for over 12 hours at this point, she still was thinking of her friends and classmates back in town and wanted to let everyone know where she was.

“Dinner was supposed to be at 6:15 and I knew I wasn’t going to make it back to the hotel for that, so I figured I should call and let them know where I was,” said Schulze.

Classmates and professors then decided to go meet her out by the 38 mile mark and take turns walking the rest of the way back with her.

“It was great to have them out there with me,” said Schulze. “I was dragging behind the guys at that point and having them there for encouragement was what I needed for my second wind.”

She also gives a lot of credit to the people of Ireland for helping her get through this walk.  They helped her both emotionally and by giving her more food water, and support to help keep her going.

“I definitely was not prepared for this race.  It was a lot more than I expected,” said Schulze.  “I found a group of three men—a father and his son and nephew, and they really helped me get through this entire thing.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them and everyone else I met.”

When Schulze crossed the finish line, she did so with Green Day’s American Idiot blasting on the stereo and holding the hands of her newest Irish friends that helped her complete the challenge.

“They told me that they wanted us to cross the finish line together, and it was something I wanted to do too,” said Schulze.  “They were amazing and a huge part of me being able to do this.”

Although it proved to be quite a challenge, she said that she would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

“I would without a doubt do this again.  It was such an amazing experience and I made such awesome friends along this journey,” said Schulze.  “Even if I knew how taxing it was going to be, I would do it all over again, because everything I’ve just endured was definitely worth it.”

By finishing the event, Schulze became the first American in the two year history of the Sneem walk to complete the entire 50 miles.  This year 118 people out 161 that started the walk.