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It was 2 a.m. just days before Christmas, and two friends and I trudged through the deserted streets of Boerne, Texas, on a mission to complete a nonstop, 24-hour walk. Though our muscles burned and we longed to sleep, we persisted on finishing what we started.

By the time we made it to the 24-hour mark, we had walked for roughly 1,500 minutes, traveled 65 miles, and each compiled 175,000 steps and burned 10,000 calories. While I cannot begin to explain the soreness that ensued, I can confidently say that this walk marked the beginning of a learning journey for me.

This experience was one of my earliest and most memorable fitness challenges, all of which have helped define my time at Texas A&M University. For the past two years, I’ve led challenges across Texas with fellow students and friends that have spanned the inconceivable, from marathons and 100-mile bike rides to climbing 2,500 flights of stairs and touching every seat in Kyle Field. The number one question I’m always asked is, “Why do you do it?”

While I can understand that these challenges might just look like a group of crazy college students trying to show off, each is grounded in purpose, community and destiny.

“One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my tenure at Texas A&M is that the hardest times often produce the most fruitful outcomes.”
- Sam Langenbahn ’24

Through organizing these challenges, I’ve come to understand that a critical aspect of success is building a team that believes in the purpose of the task at hand. A common purpose is the glue that holds every team together; without it, you lack direction. I’ve also learned the need for community as you stand face to face with life’s most difficult challenges and have come to recognize that community is not a suggestion but a necessity in our lives. As the old saying goes, if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. If it weren’t for the mutual encouragement of my two steadfast friends on that 24-hour walk, I wouldn’t have finished.

Together, I’ve also seen that shared purpose and dedicated community culminate in a specific destiny. We began our walk with an end goal in mind, regardless of what it would cost us. Believing in our destiny did not make the road easier, but it made it meaningful. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my tenure at Texas A&M is that the hardest times often produce the most fruitful outcomes.

These challenges are also an expression of faith that I feel motivated to share. With every challenge, our ambition is to spread the love of Jesus with every person we come into contact with and show the unexplainable joy and hope that Jesus offers us all. I believe that these fitness challenges can show the world that no feat is too big for those who believe.

About the Author

Sam Langenbahn ’24 is a second-generation Aggie from Boerne, Texas, and a member of the Texas A&M Foundation’s Maroon Coats. His time at Texas A&M has consisted of way too many breakfast tacos but never enough time with his friends. Following his graduation this May, Sam will pursue his master’s in theology at Dallas Theological Seminary.

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