Meet Nick Duplessie from Ansbach High School in Germany, his school is participating in the Guiness World Record attempt for most 5K runners with combined schools. It's Saturday April 25th and almost 450 JROTC schools are involved.
My name is Nick Duplessie and I am a junior at Ansbach High School, a Department of Defense school in Germany. I am living in Germany because my father is a Pilot in the Army. I balance my time between being a third year cadet in JROTC and an athlete in three sports. However, my main sport is Cross Country. I love to run! I have been running competitively since kindergarten and as a military child, I have gotten to experience unique and amazing running opportunities.
Our battalion had a list of potential service learning projects, one of which was hosting the JROTC 5K Run. I voted for this because I am a runner, and not only would I enjoy participating in the run, but also I could use my knowledge of running to help organize the event. After the run was chosen for the project, I volunteered for the Admin team. As part of the team I mapped out the course we would run.
JROTC has made a huge impact on my life. I have had many roles in the program, including platoon leader and assistant to a staff officer; these are leadership positions above other cadets. Performing in these positions has taught me valuable lessons in leadership and teamwork and has overall prepared me for life. In JROTC, no one is there to hold my hand, nobody is going to sit me down and force me to learn the material. Similar to running, no one is going to chase a runner until they get somewhere. Nobody is going to force someone to better themselves, they must want it! Through JROTC and my passion for running, I have learned that I won’t get anywhere unless I put the time and energy into self-improvement.
Running has always been at the center of who I am. I began competing in elementary school and have done so ever since. As an Army brat, I was able to run in many locations throughout the United States, but I also got the incredible chance to run overseas in Europe. I have gotten the chance to run races all over Germany, not only against other American schools, but against the local competition. There are plenty of beautiful places to run stateside, but running in Europe is something else. From the amazing sights to the crazy and always changing weather, running here in Europe has been the experience of a lifetime.
I’ve been able to experience every kind of environment there is to run in Germany. I’ve ran in the countryside of Munich, with beautiful rolling hills over farmland and through the dense woods. I’ve ran inside the walls of Rothenberg, a perfectly preserved city from the Middle Ages. I’ve also ran over roads and cobblestone, past castles and modern cities and on hills unlike any others as I watched the sun rise from the top. I’ve even gone on a run that brought the sun, rain, snow and hail throughout the journey. I am so grateful for this amazing chance to run where most kids only dream of.
I can hardly wait to participate in the worldwide JROTC 5K. It’s another one of those special once in a lifetime opportunities for me, not only as a runner but as a cadet. It’s not every day that I get the chance to potentially shatter a world record, and breaking records is a goal for any true runner, either someone else’s record or your own PR. You’re always after that next level of greatness. Ultimately, it will be a crazy feeling to know that I’m running a race against the whole world, that people on almost every continent will be running the same race at the same time as I am.