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Oh, the Places She'll Go

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For most, spending the summer studying for the LSAT would be enough. Adding ‘learning Latin’ to the mix would be a bit ambitious. Studying for the LSAT, learning Latin, and biking across the country to raise money for multiple sclerosis all at the same time? Please meet Catherine Hafdahl.

Cat H

On May 28, just a dozen days after finals end, Catherine, who goes by Cat, begins an epic 4,295-mile journey from Bar Harbor, Maine to Seattle, Wash. Cat’s a member of a 25-person “Bike the US for MS” team, raising money and awareness for multiple sclerosis.

She doesn't know anyone with MS and actually had to google it, but was moved by the opportunity and the outcome, "I've always wanted to ride across the U.S., and this is a great organization to do it with."

Riders will peddle an average of 60 miles per day. Along the way, Cat and the crew will pause to help people who have MS with house projects. Cat’s confident that, despite the grueling itinerary, she’ll still have plenty of free time. She’s bringing her Kindle so that she can study for the LSAT, the philosophy major’s on a prelaw track, and learn Latin. Cat already speaks German, but wants to add Latin to her repertoire, because she heard that once you learn Latin all languages are easy.

Cat has a proven track record of making the most of a moment. She's a fulltime student paying most of her own tuition by working fulltime at an adult foster care home. With the little free time she has, she trains for Bike the US for MS, riding a little and doing a lot of swimming and running. Unlike most endurance athletes, she doesn't do her deep, philosophical thinking when she's working out, instead just focuses on the endorphins and saves the heavy thoughts for her studies.

She’s not sure why she’s so driven. Cat thinks it may have something to do with being the middle of five sisters and one brother. Cat describes the sibling rivalry as ‘friendly competition.’ An older sister runs marathons, which was enough motivation to get her through Grandma’s 26.2 last year. On the flip side of competing, there’s a motivation to mentor. “I have three younger siblings, and I like that they look up to me.”

Cat's equally committed to rasing money for MS this summer. Her goal is to raise $1 for every mile she rides, $4,295. She's a little more than halfway there, with $2,500 in her coffers so far. For someone used to the upwind challenges of fulltime school, fulltime work, and fulltime fulfillment, the rest should be a coast to the August 4 finish line.

More information about Bike the US for MS

More information about Cat Hafdahl

Those who can, Duluth

Story by Lori C. Melton

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UMD home page editor, Cheryl Reitan,

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