Indiana State University Newsroom

‘2-mile Food Pile' boosts Catholic Charities Food Bank

March 12, 2012

When most people carry 15 pounds of food, it is generally with the help of a shopping cart and they aren't normally in a hurry.

But some Indiana State University students recently toted 15 pounds of food while running in a competitive race.

A fundraiser for the Catholic Charities Food Bank, the "2-Mile Food Pile" event featured 60 competitors, who had to run for the first mile of the race while carrying a backpack filled with at least 10 pounds of food.

"It's been quite some time since I've challenged myself to a race, so I figured this would be a fun, pressure-free way to get back into the swing of things," said Adriane Wunderlich, a graduate student in exercise and physical science.

Wunderlich teamed with two other graduate students in the department of kinesiology, recreation and sport. The team of Wunderlich, Lauren Fife and Emily Otterhoff, who called themselves the "Blond Biddies," won the female division of the race.

"We were putting strategies together of how best to complete our task from which backpacks to use to strapping ourselves in to how much food to carry on our backs," Wunderlich said. "All of us carried nearly 15 pounds on our backs and at the word 'Go' we were off."

When Otterhoff "zoomed past" Wunderlich at about the one-half mile mark, "she really helped to pull me through the first mile," Wunderlich said.

"Once I finally got all of my food unloaded, I could finally run," Wunderlich said. "It was a fun experience and cool to help out a local charity in the process."

James Grounds, a junior physical education major from Brazil, won't the men's division individual title with an adjusted time of six minutes, 23 seconds.  Grounds said the event proved to be a greater physical challenge than he expected.

"I didn't feel that the backpack was heavy until I started running," he said. "The first mile was really hard, but as soon as I dropped off the food and started running back, I felt great."

The Feb. 29 event raised more than 1,400 pounds of food - enough for more than 1,200 meals, and more than twice the goal of 600 pounds race organizers had set.

Cody Kosinski, a recreation and sport management major from Clinton, helped line up sponsors as part of a class project.

"It gave me an opportunity to take some responsibility," he said. "I really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun and it showed me the organizational side of events, and the planning process."

Hadley Stinson, a freshman pre-business major from Terre Haute was among students who made the rounds of Wabash Avenue businesses as members of the publicity team, seeking places to post flyers about the race.

"The businesses were very cooperative. They all welcomed me with open arms," she said.

Stinson also worked to recruit race participants.

"It's really good to get hands on experience. We're not only getting the ISU community involved but we're helping the Terre Haute and Vigo County communities," she said. "It's also good for us have a healthy experience. A lot of ISU students forget to adopt a healthy lifestyle and this kind of pulled us out and brought the ISU community together."

Megan Kaczmarski, a sophomore recreation and sport management major from Valparaiso, said students felt good about helping less fortunate Wabash Valley residents.

"It was a really exciting event and we had a good turnout," she said. "Even though the event was for a class, we were doing it for the community ... so it was really nice."

Funding for the event came in part from a Lilly Endowment gift and a Ryves Partnership Mini-Grant from the Office of the ISU Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs.

Undergraduate students in an introduction to sport management class were responsible for all aspects of the event, ranging from promotion and recruitment to prize sponsorship, registration and planning and management of the race itself, said Kim Bodey, associate professor of kinesiology, recreation and sport and coordinator of the sport management program.

"The goal is for students to learn about event management consistent with industry standards by planning and implementing a real event. We had eight weekly meetings (in class) leading up to the event," Bodey said.

Planning for the event also provided a sober education for the students, Kosinski noted.

"When Tom Kuhle from Catholic Charities spoke to us, one thing that really shocked me was that one in four children in Indiana go to bed hungry not knowing when they'll have food next," he said.

Photos: - About 60 Indiana State University students took part Feb. 29, 2012 in the "2-Mile Food Pile" run to benefit the Catholic Charities Food Bank. Runners were required to complete the first mile of the race while carrying backpacks filled with a minimum of 10 pounds of food. (ISU/Sam Barnes) - Oscar Enriquez, a freshman computer engineering major, gives it his all during the "2-Mile Food Pile" run to benefit the Catholic Charities Food Bank Feb. 29, 2012 on the Indiana State University campus. (ISU/Sam Barnes) - Indiana State University students Brandon Pearce (left) and Alexia Curley were among 60 participants in the Feb. 29, 2012 "2-Mile Food Pile" run for Catholic Charities Food Bank. (ISU/Sam Barnes)

Contact: Kim Bodey, associate professor, department of kinesiology, recreation and sport, Indiana State University, 812-237-2186 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or