From organizing the Krispy Kreme Challenge to running in the New York City Marathon to competing at the US Olympic Trials, ISE students are on the move.
ISE Students Run the Doughnut Race
The Krispy Kreme Challenge started in December 2004 as a dare among a few Park Scholars and their friends, all NC State undergraduates. As the popularity of the race grew, organizers turned it into something that would attract people from all over the country. They also selected The UNC Children’s Hospital as the beneficiary of this collegiate challenge.
Of this year’s 32 race organizers, five of them — Matthew Traenkle (race director), Georgia Burgess (race director), Connor Bain (department head), Anna Tavernaro (sponsorships) and Lauren Warner (logistics) — were ISE students. As race directors, Traenkle and Burgess oversaw the planning of the entire event. This included such tasks as scheduling meetings and timelines, guiding department heads, working with vendors and sponsors and interfacing with the University and the hospital. “But the most rewarding work is leading our incredible team of students,” said Traenkle. “The race could not happen without all the members of Team K2C, who put in their efforts, hours and commitment throughout the school year to get everything prepared for race day.”
All of the ISE students put their industrial engineering knowledge to use to make this year’s race a success. “There are a lot of moving pieces to the race and within Team K2C,” explained Traenkle. The organizational structure was broken down laterally into different departments that focus on specific aspects of the race (sponsorships, marketing, fundraising, logistics, etc.). “To keep track of all the parts, a systems perspective is extremely important,” said Traenkle. “For the most part, I utilized the mindset taught in ISE.”
In organizing race day setup and logistics, the directors used layout planning and created process streams to represent the different customers coming into the race. Warner was able to use her industrial engineering skills as part of the logistics committee. “We were in charge of making sure every runner gets their doughnuts and that we have an efficient system for distribution so as not to add unnecessary time to people’s race times,” she explained. “The efficiency and planning aspects are critical and required a great deal of skill to make sure everything went smoothly. Having an understanding of industrial engineering principles helped with better overall planning.”
All of the money raised beyond the expenses to operate the race go directly to UNC Children’s Hospital. “The final bonus is that we raised more money for our rival school’s hospital than any organization on their campus,” exclaimed Traenkle. “That really exemplifies the strength and character of the Wolfpack.”
Burgess Runs Around the Big Apple
Little did senior Georgia Burgess know that an injury in high school combined with a social media advertisement would start her down a path that would lead to running in the largest marathon in the world.
“I fell in love with running my junior year of high school after I quit playing soccer,” explained Burgess. But a severe hip injury sidelined her for six months. During that time, many people told her that she was probably going to need to consider giving up running. “A fun fact about me is that the fastest way to get me to do anything is to tell me I can’t,” she confessed. So when Burgess stumbled upon a Facebook ad for The Ulman Foundation’s 4KforCancer — a transcontinental relay to benefit young adults affected by cancer — she knew she had to run.
Training for 4KforCancer wasn’t easy. Burgess had to learn how to run all over again, which was incredibly frustrating. But, 4KforCancer gave her a goal that she could chip away at slowly. “Even on the bad days when I would get mad because I wasn’t as fast as I used to be. I had something to work towards and a cause bigger than myself to focus on,” she said. That focus would be critical to complete the grueling cross-country event.
Burgess was part of Team NY 2018, in which she and 20 other people ran from San Francisco to New York City over 49 days. Before the trip, each person raised at least $4,500 and, along the way, they stopped and visited young adult cancer centers and gave out care packages and scholarships to young adults. “I didn’t know what the trip would look like at the time,” said Burgess. “But it turned out to be the best summer ever, and I found a passion for the cancer community during the experience.” During the event, Burgess’s teammates convinced her to sign up for her first marathon, “and I said, ‘why not?’”
Well, her first marathon was horrible. She ran it straight off of a 4k and hadn’t trained. The race was 26 one-mile laps around an office park in Georgia’s August heat. It took her 4:38. However, that performance fueled her to want to do it again because she knew she could do better. Burgess used her industrial engineering knowledge to improve her training. “Industrial engineering is about asking yourself how we can make things better and more efficient,” said Burgess. “These are questions that apply in a lot of situations — including running. There are more efficient ways to place your feet, better ways to hold your arms, better ways to go about training and more efficient race strategies.”
Ever since she began studying industrial engineering, she has become a better runner because she always asks herself, “How can I make this better?” Industrial engineering has taught her how to be a better runner, not just a faster runner now. Burgess has run two more marathons and posted a new personal best of 3:40:59. She was steadily improving and hoped to get a shot at a national marathon.
Thanks to the Ulman Foundation, which offered her a charity bib in exchange for fundraising, Burgess would get the opportunity to run in the New York City Marathon. “I ended up fundraising $3,000 and got to run as a representative of the foundation,” she recalled.
The NYC Marathon is the largest in the world, and the energy was electric. Burgess was overwhelmed by the number of people lining the whole course, everyone cheering, and the joy was contagious. “NYC was only my third marathon, but it was by far the best race I have run in a long time,” explained Burgess. She couldn’t stop smiling the entire time, and she beat her record by about 15 minutes. “Ultimately, I’m proud of how I ran, but I’m even more pleased to have been part of something as magical as this race.”
Eberhard Runs for Her Olympic Dreams
Based on her finishing time in the Chicago Marathon, Shari Eberhard — who graduated with her masters in December — earned an invitation to the Olympic Trials in Atlanta to compete for a spot on the US Olympic Marathon Team. But running wasn’t always her passion. It started as a way to prepare for her first love.
“I started running in 6th grade to stay fit for soccer,” recalled Eberhard. Growing up, she always wanted to be a professional soccer player. But in middle school, Eberhard won many of her cross-country races, and in high school, Eberhard realized that she was better at running than at soccer. So, she made the switch to running year-round. This commitment meant she ran cross country in the fall, indoor track and field in the winter, and outdoor track and field in the spring.
Purdue University recruited Eberhard to join its track and field team, where she earned multiple Big Ten appearances. “My events were the 5k/10k, which is the longest distance,” said Eberhard. “Once I graduated, my goal was to run the Chicago Marathon, qualify for the Boston Marathon, and then run the Boston Marathon.” As it turns out, her finishing time in the Chicago Marathon (2:43:13, a personal best) qualified her for an invitation to the US Olympic Trials in Atlanta. So, what does it take to get ready for a marathon?
“Leading up to a marathon, I run on average 70 miles a week over seven days and I generally take off one day a month,” confided Eberhard. Together with her coach, she developed a plan which includes 1one or two workouts and one long run a week, with the rest of the days being regular runs.
Her workouts range from intervals and mile repeats to tempos and track workouts, and the long run generally starts at eight miles. She will build up to 22 miles at the peak of her training. Eberhard supplements her running with strength training twice a week and follows a physical therapy routine to prevent injury.
“My build-up to the Olympic Trials is very similar to that from past marathons,” shared Eberhard. “After all, this is just another marathon.” Her number one goal is to be injury-free, and since her training thus far has proven effective, she plans to keep it consistent and to continue to get stronger. All of this training is quite time-consuming, and that is where her industrial engineering (IE) skills come into play.
“IE has helped me manage my time effectively so that I can get everything done,” said Eberhard. “Many people ask me how I do it: I run every day (sometimes twice a day), use weights, work full-time, church, spend time with my family and have time to sleep. My schoolwork in IE taught me how to be efficient, to work smarter, not harder, and to prioritize.” All of these skills helped her as she headed to Atlanta to chase her Olympic dreams.
Eberhard finished her Olympic Trial marathon with an incredible time of 2:51:51, which was only 24 minutes off of the race-winning time. Returning to Raleigh, she continues to run on the Raleigh Distance Project, a local women’s elite running team and has several sponsors.
Many people have asked her how to “start running.” “My first advice is a question: Why do you want to run?” explains Eberhard. “Many people think running is the only way to get fit or reach their fitness goals. But I genuinely love to run, and because of that, running is my choice of working out. But find something that you enjoy doing and are able to be active. Working out can be effective in many different forms and any can be fun.”