In Barcelona, amidst the vibrant energy of the city, two AAU students embarked on a journey that transcended physical limits and tested the depths of their endurance. 

Andrew Rudenko and Matt Saks finished their first half marathon, and did so with a shared passion for adventure. Their story is one of determination, camaraderie, and the unyielding pursuit of personal excellence. As they laced up their running shoes and embraced the challenge that lay ahead, Andrew and Matt embarked on a transformative odyssey.

Andrew’s motivation for participating in the half marathon stemmed partly from a bet he made with a friend, challenging himself to outpace her in the Prague Half Marathon on April 6th. Part of his preparation was a practice run in the Barcelona half.

Matt, a spirited and dynamic second-year student at AAU, brings an infectious energy to everything he does. He is the life of the party both on and off the course. His zest for life is matched only by his passion for new experiences. Matt has a knack for turning even the most mundane tasks into exciting adventures, and infuses every moment with his trademark exuberance, making him a beloved figure among his peers at AAU. 

Andrew is a second-year student at AAU, whose quiet demeanor shields a heart of gold. Soft-spoken and incredibly kind, his gentle presence radiates warmth and compassion to all who cross his path. Despite Andrew’s reserved nature, his actions speak volumes about his character, as he consistently goes out of his way to lend a helping hand to those in need. 

Matt’s decision to run in Barcelona was driven by a sense of pride and as a stepping stone toward completing a full marathon. But after observing their dedication firsthand during the race weekend, it became evident that both Andrew and Matt embodied a core value shared among AAU students: the willingness to embrace discomfort in pursuit of personal growth.

When I asked Matt to describe himself, he aptly summed it up by stating he’s “willing to do anything that involves a new opportunity for a positive moment.”

The essence of “seeking discomfort” is vividly embodied in Matt and Andrew’s commitment to their weekly training regimen, aimed at enhancing their endurance and fuelling their passion for achieving. Thier dedication epitomizes a fundamental aspect of the AAU experience, where a diverse student body converges, embracing novel experiences. It’s about seizing every opportunity as a “positive moment”—a philosophy that resonates within AAU’s ethos.

In a world often characterized by polarization and negativity, it becomes crucial to amplify and propagate “positive moments.” You can contribute to this uplifting narrative by supporting or joining Andrew and Matt on their ongoing journey.

Mark your calendars for the Prague Half Marathon on April 6th, 2024, and be a part of spreading joy, camaraderie, and the triumph of the human spirit.