It’s been a busy week for Chris Weber. On Tuesday, the senior linebacker was named one of the three players to represent Nebraska at Big Ten Media Days. A day earlier, he was nominated for the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
To top it all off, he’s also been busy preparing for the Nebraska Football Uplifting Athletes Road Race on Sunday. But he’s doing more than just competing in it.
Weber, who is also the president of the Nebraska chapter of Uplifting Athletes, is in his second year at the race’s helm. And he is hoping for an even bigger event and turnout than before. All proceeds from the race’s registration, which is in its fifth year, will benefit the Nebraska chapter of Uplifting Athletes and the efforts to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer. Each year the student-athletes set a new fundraising goal, then set out to exceed it.
“Last year we raised $35,000 so I think based on the numbers from the year before, we try to raise it a little bit,” Weber told Land of 10. “This year we’re trying to raise $40,000. Being able to raise any money for pediatric brain cancer is huge, so we’re glad to be able to do it.”
The event Sunday will bring together people from all over the state of Nebraska and beyond. Kicker Drew Brown’s brother Reed Brown, who is committed to Oregon to run track and cross country, even made the trip up from Texas for the event. He’s done so multiple times the last few years, getting to visit his brother while making a difference in the same trip.
“I like that it’s a race for a cause,” Reed Brown said. “It gets people out — you don’t have to be a fast runner or anything — but it gets people out and running for a good cause. That’s probably the biggest part of me coming out here. I just like to support.”
As for the day’s events, a “fun run” will begin at 8 a.m. with a 5K following approximately 30 minutes after. Both events are set to begin just outside of Memorial Stadium on Stadium Drive.
For the student-athletes that participate, the highlight of the event is the children in attendance who have battled or are currently battling pediatric brain cancer. Running alongside those kids and cheering them on is the ultimate reason people like Weber got involved in Uplifting Athletes.
“It’s humbling really to be able to interact with these kids and these families who are going through more than any of us could ever imagine,” Weber said. “I think sometimes athletes think these workouts will be so hard, but these kids are really going through it with [chemotherapy] and radiation and hospital visits. For us, to be able to be a little bit of a distraction to everything they have going on in their lives, we hope to be able to do that.”
Drew Brown agrees. Both he and Weber remember the photo of late punter Sam Foltz from the 2016 road race. Off to Foltz’s left, a little boy looks up at the punter in awe. The photo not only represents the type of person Foltz was, but also what this race means for the Uplifting Athlete community.
Plus, the race also provides the opportunity to get out and meet people in a more relaxed setting.
“I like meeting all of the people there,” Drew said. “It’s not like Fan Day where you’re set in one spot and everyone just rotates in a circle. Instead, I’m just mixing and mingling with people so I like that.”
While online registration has officially closed, those interested in participating can still sign up at the Lincoln Track Club or make a donation online. Spectators are also encouraged.
“As many people that are there, the better,” Weber said.
With more than 80 percent of the goal met, Weber hopes to break the $40,000 goal by Sunday morning. The Huskers are close, so he’s encouraged.
And after a busy week, Weber isn’t slowing down. He has plenty on his plate — from Big Ten Media Days to summer workouts — but he’s not worried about time. For him and his teammates, the road race is something that means a great deal.
He also has a simple answer for how he makes it all work.
“If it’s important to you, you’ll find time,” Weber said. “That’s how I view it. If you prioritize it and it truly is important to you, then you’re going to find time to do it and give back. I think we’ve seen — especially here in Nebraska — across all sports that if it’s important to them, they’ll find time.”