On the big screenDocumentary stars Woodbury ultramarathon runners.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
Back in June, Woodbury residents Scott Penticoff and Todd Firebaugh competed in the Black Hills Ultramarathon on June 25, helping raise money for Admission Possible — a nonprofit organization striving to make college admission and success possible for low-income students.
The Woodbury men ran next to each other step-for-step for 100 miles, crossing the finish line together in 26 hours 45 minutes – the top time for their 40-49 age group. Penticoff and Firebaugh trained more than nine months for the race.
The documentary film ‘100,’ which recently debuted at the Showplace Icon 14 in St. Louis Park, profiles their pursuit to raise money and awareness for Admission Possible.
In ‘100’ local filmmaker John Mackin captures the pain and the glory of the runners as they compete in the Black Hills Ultramarathon, inspired by Admission Possible’s students who are racing toward their own goal of a college degree.
“Being able to see what these guys do for these kids was amazing and I can only hope I can be someone that's a hopeful figure in someone else's life just like the supporters were,” Mackin said.
The team of seven runners, including Penticoff and Firebaugh, who called themselves AD4AP ( All Day for Admission Possible) helped raise over $100,000 for the organization as they trained and competed in the 100-mile run.
“It was definitely the hardest physical challenge of my life,” said Penticoff. “But what the kids do at Admission Possible is so much more important.”
The new documentary film follows the runners as they prepare for the grueling 100-mile run and grow closer to the cause that drove them to compete. Part of the AD4AP experience included a visit to Patrick Henry High School to talk with Admission Possible students and coaches.
“It really shows you what racing for a cause that’s bigger than yourself can do,” said Admission Possible National Board member Todd Firebaugh. “The race was only a small part of the AD4AP experience.”
Firebaugh and Penticoff’s time put them in in fifth place overall in the race. Fellow AD4AP runners were right behind them. Randy Kottke finished the race in 29 hours 20 minutes, and National Board member Barry Nordstrand finished in just over 30 hours. Seth DeGroot, Stephen Byrnes and Paul Wehner ran a combined total of 223 miles, and braved serious physical challenges that ultimately forced them to stop before completing the 100-mile run. The runners exceeded their fundraising goal, bringing in more than $100,000 with a matching grant from Otto Bremer Foundation for new donors. This effort will serve 68 students in the program.
“The team’s dedication to Admission Possible’s mission has been an inspiration to Admission Possible students, staff and fellow supporters,” said Delinda Rood, Admission Possible Twin Cities Development Director.
Admission Possible makes college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. Launched in 2000, Admission Possible Twin Cities serves 7,600 low-income high school and college age students through its college access and completion programs. Nationwide, Admission Possible’s innovative and award-winning model serves 8,700 Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin students in 2011-12 with plans to reach 20,000 students annually in 10 locations across the country by 2020. According to a recent Harvard study, the program doubles a student’s chances of enrolling in college.
Mackin did not know about Admission Possible before taking on the project.
“Getting to be involved in Admission Possible was so much fun, getting to see the kids and hear what they had to say,” he said. “It's amazing to see kids find education and pursue their dreams through school and life.”