Meet Nicole Rasmussen: (A Muddy) Service Learning Coordinator

Posted by on August 8, 2012

Nicole Rasmussen (right) and Colleague Janell Trocke Finish the Dirty Girl Mud Run

No one can accuse Nicole Rasmussen of not practicing what she preaches (and
teaches.) She has the mud-stained clothes to prove it.

Rasmussen is the Service Learning Coordinator at the St. Cloud campus, and she loves
service and applied learning, “plain and simple.” She urges students to choose projects that they have a passion for and rejoices in the results when she hears “the amazing, heartfelt stories from students and [community] partners.”

Rasmussen recently took her own advice on community action by participating in the Dirty Girl Mud Run in Welch, Minnesota to benefit the National Breast Cancer
Foundation.  “It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever done,” she confesses, “and I loved it!”

A serious runner, Rasmussen is currently training for her second full marathon in
the Twin Cities this fall. A mud run, she points out, is WAY different.

First of all, you don’t necessarily have to be in perfect physical condition. Endurance is more the goal as you run—make that slog—through assorted obstacles throughout the course, of which mud is only one.

To begin the race, (after the mud) there is the Welch ski hill to climb. Scary, she
admits, as you look down and realize there is nothing to break your fall. Then take the H20 OMG obstacle, (water pit) for example.  Or the Barn Burner (hay bale climb.) Or the Get a Grip (cargo net.) And not to disappoint the folks who came to cheer the racers on, there is the grand finale: PMS– Pretty Muddy Stuff (mud crawl.)

The race is not timed, so it is unintimidating in that way. But the water is freezing
cold and Rasmussen says running wet is very challenging. And takes a l-o-n-g
time: about 2 1/2 times longer than a normal 5K.

Laughing out loud as she finally finished the race, she told her friend, “This is
service learning!”

Rasmussen finds that doing something for yourself while helping others is very
gratifying. Aside from the fundraising for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, runners were encouraged to donate their muddy shoes to be recycled. (She did.)

Rasmussen adds, “It’s kind of a bucket list thing.” She also concedes, “I like having the
chance to do something [where] other people say ‘I’d never do that.’”

Would she do it again?

Rasmussen laughs.  “Yes! We’re already planning it.  It was tons and tons of fun!”

And she’s thinking there are some service learning students out there who might be interested . . . .


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