Walk Hard 2020 raises $61K for Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures

Published 8:37 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2020

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Walk Hard 2020 is now in the books. The blisters from the128.3-mile trek from Troy to Pier Park in Panama City beach have healed and an amazing $61,000 to raise awareness and funds in support of Jeep Sullivan’s Wounded Warriors Outdoor Adventures, which is nonprofit organization that provides outdoor experiences for combat wounded veterans,  is in the bank. So, every aspect the Walk Hard 2020 was a tremendous success.

Josh Marvin, ATO president-Kappa Beta and 2020 Walk Hard assistant director, took a few minutes to look back at the walk he described as “an absolute roller-coaster and watershed year.”

“And for several reasons,” Marvin said. “Fate Calton, director, and I sought to grow this event in a lot of ways. Given that this is the 11th year, we saw it as a new decade of Walk Hard. This gave us a playground of ideas to pull from whether that be new gear for the walkers, new fundraising events, or even just new and better ways to execute the walk.”

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Marvin said there was no doubt that even with new and better ways to execute the walk it would still be a “hard walk.”

“Tough” would definitely be an understatement,” Marvin said.

Not only would the guys be challenged with walking 128.3 miles over six days, the infiltration of a stomach virus added a new layer of adversity to overcome.

“This has never happened since the birth of Walk Hard,” Marvin said. “I’m so proud of our guys, though, because, even with the stomach bug, they managed to epitomize the ideal ‘mind over matter’ and make it to the end. They had to lean on each other for emotional and mental support, and also on our support team of previous walkers to make it.”

Marvin said a walker’s mindset is primarily on “Can I make it?”

“You have a fairly singular goal and that is arriving at the beach on Day 6, Marvin said.  This involves a lot of mental battles as the road can become a very daunting place to be. The scenery changes very little; benchmarks, while visible, can take hours to arrive at; you become impatient; the pain is excruciating. There are all kinds of trials that build up and can manifest in frustration and self-defeat. However, perseverance through this produces a lot of character. I’ve seen so many guys become men through Walk Hard.”

However, Marvin said, on the support side, the goal is not as singular.

“You have the job of getting every walker to the pier,” he said. “The support team wakes up earlier, goes to bed later, provides water and food all day long, and provides first aid care.”

And, perhaps, must important is emotional support for the walkers through what may be their most difficult week of all time.

“Walkers and the support team have different battles; both would say that Walk Hard is the most challenging week of their lives.”

This year, the goal of ATO Troy University was $60,000. They surpassed their goal with $61,000, for Jeep Sullivan’s Wounded Warriors Outdoor Adventures.

“We take a lot of pride in a number like this because, throughout the year, our walkers are able to have face-to-face interaction with men who Jeep Sullivan has influenced,” Marvin said. “We’ve had a number of his friends come and share their experience and, because of that, the number is worth it every time. We see the direct results of our hard work.”