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Ring, ring, ring. My alarm went off, and it flashed 6:30 am. I had to get out of bed because we were on a tight schedule. I put on warm clothes to face the brisk weather outside. I had an exhilarating morning ahead.

My dad, my brother Max, and I piled into the car and left the house. It was a beautiful but chilly morning, and I could see the sun rising. The sky was shades of pink and orange, and it was clear with almost no clouds. We had to be at Hessel Park before 7:00 am.

When we arrived at the park, I saw about thirty other people all gathered in a circle near a tree. In the middle of the circle stood Josh Whitman, the University of Illinois Athletic Director and former Illini football player. Mr. Whitman has a tradition of leading a four and a half mile jog every time there is a home football game. We were all there to run.

The general course started at the park, then went through the community to campus, and finally looped back to the park. Mr. Whitman started the run at exactly 7 am, and we left the park heading to the quiet University of Illinois campus. It was silent because all the college students were still asleep. We ran on the streets, and the cars did a sudden stop and let our group pass. We kept running towards the Quad and Alma Mater on campus. These two landmarks were our halfway point, which meant we had run about two and a quarter miles. I was starting to feel tired, but I pushed myself to keep going. We were running at about an eight and a half minute mile pace. Max was a very motivational partner, and he cheered me on. I started to remember the sights around me, and before I knew it we were back at Hessel Park. I was breathing hard and sweating, but I was happy that I had accomplished this long run. I was smiling ear to ear when I saw my dad waiting for Max and me.

After the entire group finished, Mr. Whitman shared donuts and water, the breakfast of champions, with everyone. I was parched and drank the water bottle quickly. The donuts tasted extra delicious, and it is a tradition for Mr. Whitman to take a picture with everyone who ran. After the picture, we thanked him for doing the run and returned home before 8:00 am. I had plenty of time to go back to bed.

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