By Steve Good, Vice President of Growth & Communications
The Iron Phi 5k at the 2018 Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute sparked competition and a lasting friendship between Florida Omicron’s (Nova Southeastern) Adam Eurbin and Iowa Gamma’s (Iowa State) Andrew Nurse.
Tell us more about running with each other at the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute
Adam Eurbin: I didn’t meet Andrew until I was at the start line of the Iron Phi 5K, looking to see if anyone else was actually going to race it. I saw Andrew who looked like a runner and certainly dressed like a professional. I was immediately intimidated with the competition, until Andrew, with a smiling face approached me and asked if I ran. We immediately connected. We talked about our personal bests and our future goals, then we took off. It was amazing to not only have someone to pace with during the race, but someone with whom to talk. There wasn’t one step of those 3.1 miles that Andrew and I weren’t sharing laughs or talking about both of our journeys to become Iron Phis.
Andrew Nurse: Running with Adam was a great time. We didn’t meet until about ten minutes before the actual race, but you can kind of tell when someone takes running a bit more seriously than the average guy. We took off at a solid pace, but we didn’t take reins until about a mile into it. Once we took the lead, we were able to cruise at a hearty pace while also able to have some casual conversation during it. You really get to know a guy and his life story while running 3.1 miles with him.
Why did you decide to become an Iron Phi?
AE: During our first year as a colony we sent a brother to Kleberg. When he returned, he shared his passion for the weekend and everything he had learned, but all I heard, and what stuck with me, is that there is a program that gives me the opportunity to better ALS. I spent nearly a week reading peoples’ Iron Phi stories before I set in stone my desire to become one myself.
AN: I decided to become an Iron Phi because I needed a challenge to become the greatest version of myself. The concept of Iron Phi is right up my alley, to fundraise for a great philanthropic cause and also participate in an athletic event. LiveLikeLou and the Phi Delta Theta Foundation both hold a special place in my heart, and I will tirelessly support both until the day I die.
How did you guys support each other along the way, both at the Iron Phi 5K and afterwards as you were preparing for your respective races?
AE: Andrew and I set our pace from the beginning. We agreed that we didn’t want to go too fast as we both were enjoying our comfortable talking pace. The 5k flew by, because we didn’t shut up! We learned about each other, our running, our goals to becoming Iron Phis, our schools, and our chapters. Andrew and I have stayed in touch since Kleberg. We spoke often about our training, our fundraising efforts, and our races. On marathon morning, I woke up and saw was a text from Andrew wishing me luck!
AN: Honestly, just words of encouragement can take someone a long way. Meeting a brother like Adam who lives in an entirely different environment than I do, but still remembered who I was and supported me in my marathon, meant more than anyone else. Having a brother within my Fraternity who I met for just a weekend send me a message over two months later to wish me good luck has a feeling like no other.
Tell me more about what you accomplished in your Iron Phi event
AE: I decided to complete my very first marathon in Key West, Florida—the Southernmost Marathon. I went into the race blind, I was only able to train for three weeks due to injuries, I knew no competition, I didn’t know the course, and I didn’t even know my strengths. At the end of the day, I was able to secure a second-place finish as well as winning my age group with a finishing time of 3:21.24. I could not have been happier to wear my Iron Phi jersey the whole way.
AN: With the Des Moines Marathon, I was able to surpass my goal of going sub-three hours and qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2020. Running for something greater than myself is whole-heartedly one of the greatest achievements in my lifetime, and to be successful with it makes it that much better.
Tell me more about the feeling(s) you had after finishing your race?
AE: When I crossed the finish line, I had a flurry of emotions. I had nothing left in my legs as I crashed into some of my brothers’ arms. I laid on the sidewalk, looked at my Iron Phi jersey, and was immediately rushed with a strong feeling of pride. I had really just completed my first marathon, but more importantly, I thought of all my donors that helped me support the LiveLikeLou Foundation. The LiveLikeLou slogan ONWARD had been written on my wrist since the night before. This one simple word meant so much to me. It kept me going and reminded me why I was doing this. Seeing the motto after the race also reminded me that neither the LiveLikeLou Foundation or I are done.
AN: As I was nearing the finish line, I was able to see the time. There were a lot of people waiting at the finish. Seeing them and also knowing I was going to beat my goal time was absolutely incredible. I became very emotional as I crossed the finish line, knowing that I had supported such a great cause while also accomplishing a personal dream of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
Why should others participate in Iron Phi?
AE: Iron Phi was the greatest way for me to be a part of something greater than myself. Not only did I raise around $1,500 for the LiveLikeLou Foundation, but I enjoyed doing it. Iron Phi brought me to so many new friends, especially Andrew, but it also ignited my passion for the LiveLikeLou Foundation. One of the other benefits I found from participating in the Iron Phi program was how much it strengthened my bond and passion for the Fraternity.
AN: Others should participate in Iron Phi to do something great and impact the lives others. Accomplishing any athletic feat feels rather satisfying in itself, but knowing that you had people supporting you along the way and are able to give back to the community with it, brings true happiness—something very difficult to find in this world.