For Yale Law School students, the joy is in the journey — and in kicking Cantab butt.

Last weekend, 12 Yale law students traded cross-examinations for cross-trainers in America’s longest road race — New Hampshire’s 200-mile Reach the Beach Race — raising over $10,000 for local charities and stomping Harvard in the process.

The Bulldogs finished the 26-hour relay 14 minutes ahead of the Crimson, averaging 7 minutes, 56 seconds per mile.

Like many of the runners, Bianca Locsin LAW ’03 was more used to hitting the books than to pounding the pavement. At least, she was until she ran a grueling 17-mile share of the race.

“You don’t know what it’s like to live until you run in pitch-black along a New Hampshire highway with a headlamp on your forehead and a blinking light on your butt,” she explained.

The race, held annually in New Hampshire, challenges its competitors to run 200-miles nonstop. The Yale Law School mixed team finished 35th out of 100 teams, beating not only Harvard’s team, but also the Eastern Mountain Sports men’s team and the New Balance mixed team.

The Yale students began running at 11:00 a.m. Friday, and finished at 1:30 p.m. the following day — a full hour before their projected arrival.

Kevin Keenan LAW ’02, the team’s captain, said he first formed the squad last semester because it would give him an opportunity to give back to the New Haven community while allowing him to compete in the sport he loves. Keenan later encouraged Harvard to enter the race, making this the first of what both Yale and Harvard law schools hope will be an annual event.

Emily Pierce LAW ’02 kept the group in shape over the summer by e-mailing training schedules and kept the morale of the team high by cheering — even while she was competing.

“She was running and coaching at the same time,” Locsin said. “She’d be running her leg [of the race] and yell to us in the van, ‘Start stretching!'”

The runners credit the support crew, captained by James Gooch LAW ’02, with making the difference between the Yale and Harvard teams. The crew drove alongside the runners in three vans for the race’s entirety. The vans served as a home base for team members not running.

“It was fun to live on an hour of sleep, Gatorade and wheat thins,” Locsin said.

While the Yale team is thrilled by their big win over Harvard, the race itself means more than just times. The law students gathered donations from patrons throughout the New Haven area for All Our Kin and Habitat for Humanity, two local charities that aid in supporting low-income families through house construction, day care and skills training.

“It’s a triumph for everyone to do this — for us as individuals, for Yale, and for the community of New Haven at large,” Locsin said.

“I will remember the run for as long as I live,” said Adam Grumbach LAW ’02. “Particularly if I never regain my ability to walk up a flight of steps.”

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