Keeping up and staying up


Story by Eric Christenson

It’s a little different than staying up all night cramming for exams. Instead of making flashcards, crunching numbers or writing essays, students at the UW-Eau Claire Relay for Life will spend all night Friday running or walking around the McPhee Center indoor track round the clock to fight cancer.

Relay for Life is a yearly fundraising event hosted by the American Cancer Society that helps spread awareness and raise money through pledges, food, games and family-friendly entertainment.

“I think it’s really exciting because it brings together so many different groups of people,” said Jenny Talen, relay kickoff co-chair. “You have people who have had people in their life that have battled cancer or died from cancer, so it’s just cool seeing all the different kinds of people that come to this one night to help fight cancer.”

Staying up all night is challenging for some folks, but we here at The Spectator are here to help. Before you start thinking of going to sleep early, heed this list — compiled with the help of some Relay regulars — and discover some tricks for staying up and making the most of your Relay.



Certainly there are many individuals that do the Relay, but Talen said that having friends there with you makes it easier to stay up and will be more fun.

“If you’re an individual doing it, that’s cool too, but if you come with friends, you’re more likely to be pumped up,” Talen said.

Before you make your journey round the track, pack up your pals and bring them along to help each other stay awake. Talen said this is a sure-fire way to have the most fun.



There are several activities planned throughout the night designed to keep Relay-ers awake and involved. Participants can expect a scavenger hunt, soda-pong tournaments, performances by the Innocent Men, the Blugold Gospel Choir and Audacious, as well as talks from survivors and families of those affected by cancer.

Talen said as long as you stay up and involved with the planned activities, you shouldn’t feel the need to sleep.

Relay co-president Ashley Moore said that an important part of staying involved is not keeping track of time.

“Don’t watch the clock,” Moore said. “Don’t think that it’s three in the morning and you still have four hours left. Just try to spend your time doing more fun things.”



Relay Co-President Chase O’Keefe said typically during the Relay the hardest hump to get over is around 2 a.m.  O’Keefe said that a big task for the committee is tackling that  time.

“The big trick is that we, as a committee, are making sure that we have activities at two, three, four o’clock in the morning that are getting people up and moving,” he said. “As long as we can get activities at those times, it’s key to keeping people there.”

O’Keefe said they have a pie-eating contest and a giant game of Twister all in those time slots to combat people getting tired. The highest energy events are the ones scheduled for those times. He said this has worked in the past.

“We keep getting more and more people staying until that last ceremony,” O’Keefe said.



Talen said one of the easiest ways to fight off Mr. Sandman is just by walking. During the Relay, someone from your team always has to be walking, so if you start to feel your eyes get heavy, get out and start walking until the next event.

The sentiment to just keep walking not only will help you stay awake, but it echoes the spirit of the event: perseverance. Talen recognizes it’s not an easy task.

“(Staying awake) is the important thing,” she said. “That’s the sacrifice you make because you wouldn’t do that normally, but that’s the whole purpose of the event.”

So there you have it. If you feel the sleepies start to come on, just know that the Relay for Life crew has thought of a solution. This list should help you keep those eyes open and make you experience the event in full, for a good cause.

Talen is confident you won’t even think about laying your head down.

“There’s always stuff going on,” Talen said. “It’s not like it’s going to be quiet.”