For week 3 of Alumni Month, we are spotlighting some of our fabulous alumni! 

First up we have Jordan Crawford, NUS’18 rider, and soon to be a 3-time, Team Bike & Build marathoner. Since May 2019, Jordan has run the Colfax Marathon and Philadelphia Marathon with Team B&B, and is currently preparing for Colfax round 2 this May! Check out his story below.

Tell us a bit about yourself
I am originally from central PA and went to Penn State for undergrad where I got involved in service organizations and volunteering, spending fall and spring break for sophomore and junior years volunteering in urban and rural areas. I got my B.S. in biobehavioral health with a minor in global health. Being in public health/global health somewhat went hand-in-hand with volunteering because I was learning about health issues that are so integral to under-served communities domestically and abroad. I was fortunate enough to supplement these volunteering trips with short-term abroad trips to Israel and Tanzania in 2016 to give my interest in service a more globalized view. After graduating, I moved to Denver and began AmeriCorps with an organization called Reading Partners. I served as a site coordinator for 1700 hours in FY17-18 and learned to hold my own against K-4 kiddos and it is one of the most rewarding experiences that I’ve had the pleasure to take part in. As I neared the end of my term, I had to think about what to do next, and grad school was it. I began a master of public health program in Fall 2018 in epidemiology and global public health. I’ll be graduating in December and hopefully work as a communicable disease epidemiologist (or somewhere with programming/evaluation/implementation). 

How did you get involved with Bike & Build?
I became involved with B&B most directly through Jeremy Gruber (jerm/jay/grubz) who rode the regional trips in summer of 2017. We both know two guys, though, who rode coast to coast trips in 2016. Applying to Bike & Build was a way for me to learn about the affordable housing crisis in the United States and hopefully do a little to make an impact on the issue. 

What encouraged you to sign up for the Colfax Marathon?
BIKE & BUILD ENCOURAGED ME TO APPLY FOR THE COLFAX MARATHON. In the beginning of my involvement, I didn’t think that I could raise over $5,000. I didn’t think that I could bike 4,000 miles across the country for 11 weeks. I didn’t think that I would be able to run a marathon. But, Bike & Build believed in me! Running the marathon was a way for me to continue my involvement with the organization and bring more attention to WHY Bike & Build is important. 

How was your experience running your first marathon?
The experience running the marathon could have been better, but I know this is due to my own lack of training. At the end of the day, though, it is four hours at most. I was lucky to have support from other runners like you and the B&B team and other people here in my community. In the bigger picture, while it wasn’t the race that I wanted to have, it was an accomplishment in fundraising and performance nonetheless. 

What prompted you to sign up for your second marathon in Philadelphia?
Deciding to run Philly is partially an act of my own impulsiveness. But again, it’s a way to continue my relationship with Bike & Build (and return to my home state!). I am not in a place right now to do a cross country trip although I’d love to. Running Philly was another challenge. I didn’t want to just run A marathon. I wanted to get better at running a marathon. 

Now you are preparing for your 3rd marathon in a year’s time – how does that feel? What have been your biggest accomplishments and challenges with this experience?
Since I almost literally crapped the bed with Philly, that’s why I wanted to sign up for Colfax again. I am excited that I now kinda consider myself a marathon-er. I am bad at self-motivation and need to work on that so I can actually have a running base going into a marathon and I think I will kill it. 

Do you have plans to keep running marathons for many years?
I never really planned on running three marathons this year. But, for the most part if you keep asking me I will probably keep running. I want to qualify for Boston which would mean taking off about 20 minutes of my Colfax time last year which I should’ve done at Philly. I felt so friggin’ good running down Chestnut and hit like a 6:02 mile and then finished at like 12:00 minutes/mile hahaha. One of these times, though, I will qualify for Boston and hopefully have my best fundraiser for Bike & Build yet. 

But really, I just like service and volunteering and doing my part. Only because I like feel-good feelings, I’m attaching youtube videos for the service things I’ve done and reflect on and cry about when I’m feeling down. 

Penn State Alternative Breaks — https://youtu.be/-7oAijL58q8

Reading Partners CO — https://youtu.be/fnbWAYy154s

Bike and Build — https://youtu.be/hnc99WJT6Sg