Odyssey Impact: An Army Vet Refuses To Leave Another Marathoner Behind

Odyssey Impact: An Army Vet Refuses To Leave Another Marathoner Behind

A man helps a complete stranger finish the last six miles of a grueling race.
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Everyone has heard success stories in which people find lost loved ones and old friends through social media, but to help facilitate a reunion is a privilege not many people are able to experience.

Indiana University student Zoe Spilker was scrolling through her newsfeed when she discovered a post by a marathon runner attempting to locate the U.S. Army veteran who helped her finish the race. The runner, Nikki Labaschin, had six miles left in the marathon before she had to stop and catch her breath.

The veteran, whose name was Pete, stopped when he saw her and walked her the rest of the way to the finish line, selflessly grabbing her water and Gatorade along the way. After the race was over, Labaschin took to social media to look for the kind stranger.


Spilker didn’t know the marathon runner or the veteran personally, and yet she felt connected to the cause. “I was really touched by the story and how this girl got helped across the finish line. I wanted him to be recognized,” Spilker said.

Spilker, a journalism major, chose Odyssey as her outlet to share Labaschin’s story and to help her find Pete. Her post, in which she started the hashtag #FindPete, relayed the heartfelt moments Pete Labaschin shared in their last few miles:

After posting her article, she encouraged her loved ones to pass on the story.

“I had a lot of support from my friends and family just wanting to share it and get the message out,” Spilker said. “I called a couple of my family members and friends and they knew I had the opportunity to make a difference here, so they were all very willing.”

Within 24 hours, her article got more than 500 shares and friends of friends and complete strangers were commenting on her Facebook share with praise, and even some tips on how to find Pete.

“One person commented and said, ‘You might be able to find him this way,’ and said to look up his runner number on the marathon page. I don’t think they even personally knew him, they possibly were involved in the marathon,” Spilker said.

Her Facebook share of the post circulated beyond her own network and in turn, Labaschin’s story was further pushed beyond Indiana and around the United States. Spilker didn’t just share on Facebook, though—she knew it would take more than one platform to make an impact. So, she shared on her Twitter as well.

“There was one point when someone found the girl on Twitter who knew the guy, so I got a few messages on Twitter because of my share,” Spilker said. “I think that was really influential in finding him.”

One person who personally knew Pete found Spilker’s Twitter post was also able to get in touch with Labaschin, and finally, the runners were able to connect.

Spilker’s job was done, and knowing that her article helped the runner connect with her new friend was an incredible experience.

“It definitely made me realize the power of social media in connecting people,” Spilker said. “I think a lot of times when people tweet out things or share different things on Facebook, they don’t realize how many people can see that. It really does have the power to do good.”

This one experience illuminated Spilker’s journey with Odyssey, and showed her that Odyssey’s mission is literally changing lives.

“Sometimes it’s hard to find a platform where we can get our ideas out,” Spilker said. “What’s really special about Odyssey is that our ideas can reach more people than we expect, and social has a great influence in that.”

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The End Of The Semester As Told By Todd Chrisley

Because we're all a little dramatic like Todd sometimes.
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The last 3-4 weeks of every college student’s semester are always crazy hectic. We have last minute assignments, group projects, and exams all squeezed into the last few weeks before break.

Sometimes we all need a little humor, and sometimes we are all a little dramatic, so why not experience the last few weeks of the semester as told by the king of drama himself, Todd Chrisley of Chrisley Knows Best.

1. Sitting in class listening to your professor explain upcoming assignments/exams.

2. When your group project members refuse to do anything until the night before it's due or just show up the day of to present.


3. When you and your roommate try to cook with whatever few ingredients you have left in stock.

Because we definitely want to avoid going to the grocery store at the end of the semester if we can.

4. When your parents get tired of you calling them about every little inconvenience in your life.

5. Sitting down to work on assignments.


6. Your thoughts when the professor is telling you what they want from you out of an assignment.


7. When you've had about 30 mental breakdowns in 2 days.

8. Trying to search out the class for the right group members.

9. The last few days of classes where everyone and everything is getting on your nerves.

10. When your friend suggests going out but you're just done with the world.

11. This. On the daily.

12. When all you want to do is snuggle up and watch Christmas movies.


13. Studying and realizing you know nothing.


14. When your finals are over and it's finally time to go home for break.


You're finally back to your old self.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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A Step By Step Of How Your Thanksgiving Will Actually Go

Every year we think it will go differently, and yet...

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It's pre-Christmas, and it will be a day of stress, love, and wonderful food.

1. You wake up to the sounds of a parent slamming pots and pans on the counter top

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It is time. The day has begun and your mom or dad will start yelling for you any minute.

2. You finally make it downstairs and you're assigned your tasks before family arrives

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There will be the "Make this table," or the "Dust the entire house because your cousins are coming and they won't notice but your aunt sure will. Oh, and please stay out of the kitchen." You know, the usual.

3. You try to eat breakfast and lunch but honestly you can not WAIT for dinner tonight and the smells coming from the kitchen are overwhelming

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What are we celebrating again? I'm just excited to eat.

4. You rush and make your way to the grocery store at least once (maybe twice) because your parents can't leave the kitchen

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"You would think mom wouldn't forget anything for tonight, but I guess it is pretty easy to forget gravy when you're making a million other dishes," you think to yourself as you try to defend the forgetfulness.

5. You spend a few hours feeling bored as you wait for your family members to arrive because you still aren't allowed in the kitchen and you find yourself watching that one "Friends" episode to kill some time. 

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Football or "Friends"? Honestly I should ask my mom if she needs more help but I'll just keep watching this.

6. Your family finally arrives 

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It is suddenly overwhelmingly loud and you now get to talk about your life for the next few hours. Food cannot come soon enough.

7. Hours and hours seemed to go by but dinner is finally ready

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At llllaaaassssstttttttttt, my dinnnnnnneeeeerrrrrrrr will be mmmmiiiinnneeeeeeeeee!

8. You have to sit through and listen to either heated debate or six conversations at once while you eat 

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Honestly, I'll just keep quiet and enjoy these mashed potatoes for their deliciousness.

9. You get one look from your mom and suddenly your busting the whole table

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But hey, there are worse things in life. For instance, I'm not even toughing that turkey carcass I don't care what my parents say.

10. It's round two. You've been waiting for that pie all day 

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There's this cool thing called a dessert stomach where you have more room for dessert than you did five minutes ago. Isn't that great?!?

11. Your family slowly starts to leave, and the food coma starts to settle in 

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It's been a great meal, even if there was some arguing. At the end of it all, it's still been a great thanksgiving.

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