Troy Taus Walk Hard

May 26, 2010

A guy in a super hero outfit has inspired four fraternity brothers to embark on a grueling 125-mile walk from Troy to the beach, as a means to promote diabetes awareness.

Kyle Crabtree, of Dadeville, said he and fellow Alpha Tau Omega member Austin Bivins, of Clanton, were at Dairy Queen one day several weeks ago when a guy walked by in a Super Man costume, carrying an American flag.

“We saw him twice and never did figure out what he was doing,” Crabtree said, “but we started thinking how it would be to just walk for a while. To walk until we can’t walk anymore. Walk to the beach, maybe.”

The two went about selling their idea to other friends in an effort to get more walkers. One, Edward Fieder of Montgomery, was not able to participate because of his Type II diabetes.

That’s when the guys decided they needed a cause. They are now walking to raise money for Camp Seale Harris, a summer camp for children with diabetes. It is part of the Alabama Special Camp for Children and Adults system, for those with physical and mental disabilities. It is at Lake Martin.

The two were able to recruit fellow students Jacob Laan of Fort Payne and Ethan Brown of Highland Home.

When Laan, a National Guardsman, heard the plan, he had his doubts.

“How do you know if you can do that?” he said he wondered. “I mean, it sounds like a good idea.”

Immediately the four began practicing, walking a few hours each day with up to 45 pounds in their packs. And each has dropped some weight.

“The litmus test was the recent Relay for Life,” Laan said. “We walked 10 hours, or about 22 miles, with no breaks. It was an eye-opener. We were hurting by the end of it.”

The four will walk about 20 miles a day carrying their own snacks and water. Their next-day provisions will be brought in each day by Fieder.

“I’m taking protein bars and a jar of peanut butter,” Crabtree said.

“We figure we will burn about 7,000 calories a day,” Laan added, “and we know our bodies won’t be able to take in that many calories each day.”

The walkers plan to walk from about 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, stopping to camp each night.

“We know we can walk 22 miles in 10 hours,” Laan said of their Relay for Life experience. “The question is, can we walk six consecutive days.”

The walkers also plan rest stops every two hours, where they plan on replenishing their bodies with water and taking their shoes off for a foot rest. The guys say they worry most about their feet holding up.

“I tried to find some good hiking shoes,” Laan said.

They will also blog during the trip and will make a documentary of the experience.

Walk Hard 2010 begins with an 8 a.m. departure Monday from the square in the center of this college town. The guys will arrive at Pineapple Willy’s in Panama City, Fla., on Saturday around 5 p.m. An itinerary and tentative schedule can be found on the website.

The group figures it costs about $625 to send one camper to Camp Seale Harris for one week. They have set as their goal $5,000, which will go into a general scholarship fund for campers.

“The fraternity became our first major sponsor,” Crabtree said.

While this walking idea was met with mixed reviews by family and friends, it was Crabtree’s grandmother who was the most outspoken.

“She said it was dumb,” Crabtree said with a laugh. “But this is something I can tell my grandkids I did.”

The brothers were also featured in a short “Across the USA” article of USA Today for their 125-mile trek. Here is the article as it appeared in USA Today:

“Troy – Four Troy University students from Alpha Tau Omega fraternity started a 125-mile walk to the beach to promote diabetes awareness. Kyle Crabtree, Austin Bivins, Jacob Laan and Ethan Brown hope to raise $5,000 by the time they reach Panama City, Fla., on Saturday. The money is to help send children with diabetes to camp.”

For more information on the walk, visit Kappa Beta’s chapter website: You may also visit the Walk Hard 2010 blogspot for additional information:


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