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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5 Surprising Reasons to Take Up Ice Fishing This Season

Why Ice Fishing is the Best Fishing
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Winter has arrived and since we live in the real world and not in Game of Thrones universe, it won't last for years. That's why instead of being cooped up in your own house, you should make the best of this season. And how can you do it?? Of course, by ice fishing. 

Yes, I am perfectly aware that, when we hear the word 'Winter', fishing is not the first thing that comes to our mind; but it should. 

Ok, I admit that winter is cold, bleak and sometimes boring. However, ice fishing is the best way to spice up our winter. There is no activity that would cheer you up in this gloomy weather more than fishing through the ice. Yet, if you are still skeptical about ice fishing, then below I have given 5 reasons that would certainly convince you to take up ice fishing this winter. 

1. Saves Money

Money matters to everyone, unless you are Bill Gates or his lucky lad. And, you can save a lot of money by fishing in winter rather than in summer. For, during the summer, in order to catch fish, you must own or rent a boat, and a boat requires maintenance, and all of this will cost you a huge sum of money. 

On the other hand, in winter you won't need a boat, and without a boat, there would be no maintenance. This would certainly save you an ample amount of money. Besides, instruments of ice fishing aren't expensive and you can purchase them for less than $100. However, you must make sure that your equipment such as rods, auger, and fishing reels are top notch to ensure that you are fully prepared for any kind of fish. 

2. Perfect for family outing

One thing that I particularly love about ice fishing is that we can do it with our family, unlike fishing in summer, as it is quite difficult to go fishing with 5 or 6 people in the boat. It is also worthy of note that ice angling is extremely popular among kids as a winter activity as they love playing in the snow, and their happy faces will certainly brighten up your mood. Thus, it won't be an exaggeration to say that an exhilarating fishing adventure is the best outdoor activity for family outings in this freezing weather. 

3. No sunburn

Sunburn is a cause of concern for most of the anglers, and rightly so. Because overexposure to the sun can cause us severe skin damage. However, ice anglers don't have to worry about sunburn unless you are one of those who prefer to fish in a state of undress. 

Nonetheless, it would be wise for you to put on some warm and comfortable clothes of high-quality as it would protect you from hypothermia. And, if you are you terrified of cold weather, don't worry, for, with a new technology called ThermoLogic line by NTA Enterprise, you can control the temperature of your own fishing apparel. Therefore, put all your worries into the closet and remember, before embarking on the ice, you must bundle up. 

4. You Don't get bored

It could be quite frustrating when the fish is not biting. But you shouldn’t trouble yourself, as you can try a lot of other activities instead of waiting for the fish to get hooked. For example, you can play cards, hockey (my favorite) or enjoy a hot tub out in the open. Besides, you will have all your fishing buddies alongside you. But if you are one of those who like to fish alone, then divulge in skating or you can try your cooking skills while keeping an eye on the hole for fish. Hence, rest assured, boredom is something that you won't suffer from while ice fishing. 

5. Great for health

I am sure, you have heard this phrase 'health is wealth', but did you know that you can preserve your 'wealth' by ice fishing? Yes, you can. But how??? Well, It has been scientifically proven that being near to water is greatly beneficial for our health, even when the water is frozen. 

An Australian study has revealed that water can have a great effect on our overall fitness. For, it reduces stress (which is vital for our heart), helps breast cancer patient's recovery,and aids to tackle chronic illness or mental problems. Therefore, by taking up ice fishing in this winter you can get both pleasure and health benefits.

So Do You Feel The Itch?

By now, you should feel the bubbles in your stomach for ice fishing. It has fun, adventure and what not! Let me know your thought on taking up ice fishing this season in the comment section below.

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7 Key 'Pointes' I Learned About Dance After I Quit

It's all blood, sweat and tears, but no one outside of the studio knows.
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As a kid, I wanted to be someone as graceful and as beautiful as a ballerina. So when my mom was willing to sign me up for dance lessons, I was beyond excited to take my first lesson in third grade. For the next three or four years, I developed a passion for dance — so much so that I wanted to be a dancer for the rest of my life. However, due to family-related reasons, I had to put dance on a hiatus for a year. I played a year of catch-ups when I returned, but soon, I had to abruptly leave again. Though I may no longer be with my friends at the barre anymore, I've realized multiple key things about dance that I have never noticed before.


1. You sacrifice a huge chunk of your time.

When I first left the studio, I was shocked at all the spare time I had. I didn't know what to do with all this time, and I was constantly bored. From dancing every day to not dancing at all, I gained six more hours per week (and that was me taking minimum classes required at a company level). I know people who take around eight classes a week, and the studio is practically their home. Now, it's sort of hard to imagine how to balance schoolwork, extracurriculars and work on a tight schedule.

2. Dancing requires much physical exertion.

When I was in dance class, we worked on combinations and techniques until we felt the burn in our muscles, and we would be sore the next day (and possibly the days afterward). I would be drenched in sweat at the end of class, and my glasses would be fogged up by the hot breath. It wasn't until I stopped dancing when I realized that my daily exercise comes from dance classes. I gained a little weight, and my muscles weren't as strong as before.

3. Perseverance is key.

I didn't realize what working for something truly was until I had to do it myself. To be honest, it took me a couple of years to realize that if I wanted something, I had to fight for it. Whether it was to stretch a bit longer every night or to practice turns at home, everything required the initiative to improve. The process would seem so long and frustrating, but I would be so determined that it didn't even matter.

4. Injuries don't exist.

I've witnessed people get injured from dance. It's insane how people are still able to dance and smile through concussions and sprained ankles. I've seen bloody feet, fallen toenails and swollen feet. I've fallen more times than I could count, whether it was from preparing for a jump or just from slipping on the floor. Pointe shoes were a pain, and I'm sure my toenails would never look the same ever again. I barely made it through class back then, and I still don't know how people are able to do it now.

5. You have to be dedicated.

Dance requires so much time, so much energy and so much diligence. You really have to be passionate and dedicated to dance in order to go through this entire process. Once you set your mind on something, you do whatever it takes to improve. After all, what's the point of doing something if you don't care for it?

6. The end result is always rewarding.

When I danced, it was rewarding to accomplish the little things, such as nailing a turn. As an ex-dancer and an audience member, I browsed through dance videos and went to recitals, and it was inspiring to see everyone's hard work pay off. You could tell by their confidence radiating onstage, and it immediately drew you in.

7. You make lasting friendships.

I left the studio twice, and both times I experienced a separation and drift from everyone else. Although a part of it was due to me being an introvert at the time, time can cut friendships off or make people drift apart. On the other hand, I witnessed others bond closer and closer. I believe it's wonderful that people find friends who share the same interests and will support you through your journey. It's mind-blowing to see all the time and effort dancers put into their movements and flow.


Blood, sweat and tears. From an outsider's perspective, dancers make it all look easy. But if I hadn't known any better, I would've brushed off all their efforts off. The end result is what we all see, but we don't realize everything prior to that. Dance isn't often treated as serious as other things, so before you make a remark on dance, walk a mile in the dancer's shoes.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels | Tim Gouw

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