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'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

How to Hit the Bricks without letting the bricks hit you

Men’s cross country team gives tips and tricks for surviving Thursday’s all-day running event
Evan Harris
Wake Forest students, faculty and staff run laps around Hearn Plaza to raise money for the Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund during Hit the Bricks on Oct. 6, 2022.

Every year, thousands of Wake Forest community members come together on Hearn Plaza and run around for 10-and-a-half hours to raise money for the Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund. The laughter-filled and sweat-drenched day is one of the most beloved traditions on campus. The day after? Not so much. Students ache trying to get out of their lofted Twin XL, tiny Tribble desks cause cramps galore and countless classes are skipped because the walk from South Campus to Carswell feels like an eternity. 

Apparently, running doesn’t have to feel like this at all. According to the Wake Forest men’s cross country team — the 2022 ACC Champions — running painlessly is quite easy. Here is what runners say are the most important things to consider if you want to survive Hit the Bricks on Oct. 5.

Dressing For Success

Rocky Hansen shows off the proper running attire.

This isn’t a job interview, so there is no need to bring out the fresh-pressed khakis and dress shoes, but do be mindful of what you are wearing. 

Andrew Kivett, junior — “You want to wear some athletic clothes, so you’re not getting your stride messed up. Just wear some clothes where you can feel comfortable, and be able to sweat a little.”

Weber Long, sophomore — “The right shoes are athletic shoes, tennis shoes if you have them. Don’t wear anything like Converse or Nike Dunks — it’s not going to feel good.”

Rocky Hansen, freshman — “Do not wear track spikes for Hit the Bricks.”

Getting Started

Andrew Kivett, left, and Weber Long, right, warm up their lower body with leg swings and hip openers.

Before you begin running on Thursday, remember this is not the Olympic Trials, this is a fun run for charity. Once this mindset is established, the rest of the warmup is simple. 

WL — “Hit a few stretches, make sure your legs aren’t too tight. Quad stretch, hamstring stretch, then run a few laps slowly, not that fast.”

AK — “You don’t want to go hard right away and then be tired towards the end. Just take the first couple laps or couple miles easy, and then you can start to crank down and get a little faster.”

RH — “Start out slower than you think you should. Typically, people tend to overestimate their capabilities, so start off slower and go from there. Go by feel.”

WL — “Ease into it, and figure out what your body can handle.”

Find Flawless Form

Weber Long, left, Andrew Kivett, center, and Rocky Hansen, right, demonstrate how not to run.

While there are different technical running styles, and each person can have an individual preference, the best one is the one that doesn’t hurt. Good form can also help with running fast if that’s more important to you. 

AK — My form [in the video] was messed up because I was slouching my back over. You want to be more upright, and keep your back in line with the rest of your body. Just look upright. It creates your form to be more efficient, keeping everything in a straight line, keeping your body upright. You’re just in a stronger motion. Weber was bringing his arms across really aggressively, and it is just a really inefficient way to run. You are running straight, so you want to keep those arms forward, look ahead of you and put all your momentum forward.”

WL — “It’s energy loss.”

AK — “Rocky was too far back. He was just leaning backwards which puts some weight to the back, and is just inefficient. You want to be forward, have a little lean and have that power.”

Staying Fueled Up

Rocky Hansen stays hydrated.

Besides well-fitting athletic shoes, proper nutrition and hydration are the foundation of all runners. Think of your body as a 1963 Porsche 911, it takes only the premium fuel to keep it going — none of that cheap 87-unleaded stuff. 

AK — “First, you want to be drinking a lot of liquids, whether that’s water or an electrolyte mix. Hydration is huge, so you can have stamina and keep going for a long time.”

WL — “Beforehand, maybe something like granola bars, something that’s a long digestive snack. During, [eat] honestly anything, just a small snack.”

RH — “Fruits are great. They have plenty of antioxidants in them and fast carbohydrates, so if you could get a banana or something like that, that’d be great.”

AK — “If you want to go really serious, you could take gels, or you can take some gummies, but stay on your carbohydrates. If you could have a sandwich midway through, that would be good. Just something that’s not too aggressive on the stomach. The night before, you’re gonna be running for a while, so if you want to get some pasta in you, some bread…anything like that would be really good.”

Maneuvering the Crowd 

Weber Long avoids oblivious texters and obstacles.

If you think Hearn Plaza can be packed between classes, just wait until Thursday. The sidewalk will be more clogged than the omelet station in the Pit on a Sunday morning. Obstacles will be coming from every direction, and it is important to know how to avoid — well, truthfully — minimize how many collisions you run into.

RH — “Look for gaps.”

WL —  “You just kind of want to pay attention to what’s going on around you and what’s happening in front of you. Try to be quick on your feet, so you don’t end up hitting anybody. [If you do], apologize and keep running, honestly.”

Passing the Baton, –er Backpack 

Rocky Hansen delivers a clean handoff to Weber Long.

In addition to cross country, all three of the runners are on the track & field team and have competed in relays. Normally, there would be a metal foot-long baton to pass from person to person, but the Hit the Bricks backpack is basically the same thing, right?

RH — “Since you’re using a backpack, I think what would work best is grabbing the top of the backpack, if there’s a handle there, and using that and facing the straps towards the person receiving it. Then they can just grab it and go and sling it on their back. I think both [people] should be running at the same time for maximal efficiency, and if it gets dropped, that’s okay. Just pick it back up and go.”

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About the Contributor
Cooper Sullivan
Cooper Sullivan, Sports Editor
Cooper Sullivan is a senior from Winston-Salem majoring in Communication with double minors in Journalism and Art History. He enjoys long walks on the beach, dancing like no one is watching and "committing to the bit".

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