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Alumni Profile

Gas mask marathon

adam casey

Adam Casey, BA ’08, will run a marathon in a gas mask to raise money for Wounded Warriors on Oct. 23. Photo by Rachel Coward

“Claustrophobic” … “A lot of pressure on the face.” That’s how Adam Casey describes the sensation of wearing a gas mask — especially the kind worn by members of the U.S. military. So why did he sign on to run a half-marathon in one?

“Wearing the mask while running is a symbol of what wounded veterans face every day,” says Casey, BA ’08, of Chesterfield, Mo.

It’s part of an effort to raise money for Wounded Warriors, in partnership with Team X-T.R.E.M.E. The group raises awareness and funds for wounded veterans through feats of physical and mental endurance. On Oct. 23, Casey, along with Team X-T.R.E.M.E. founder Jeremy Soles, will run the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon Series in St. Louis. He’s collecting sponsorship money to meet his $5,000 goal leading up to the big day.

Casey, a wide receiver on the MU football team from 2004-08, knows about physical dexterity, but he admits his first run in a mask that restricts oxygen flow to the lungs by 30 percent wasn’t easy.

“It was a kind of hot day, and my goal was four miles,” Casey says. “I thought it would be easy, but after I got into the run, my body was asking ‘Where’s my oxygen?’ ”

The issue of fundraising for veterans hits close to home for Casey, who is applying for a position as a U.S. Naval officer. He sees his application as the way to combine his passion for helping people with his desire to see the world. A string of recent adventures had him road-tripping to Alaska, aiding in Kosovo, volunteering in Chile and trying out for the NFL.

“I have a tremendous respect for what soldiers have done,” Casey says. “And it’s a way to serve your country and help others.”

While he awaits the U.S. Navy’s decision, one thing is certain for Casey. He and his gas mask will report to the starting line in late October.—David Earl