Runner’s world: Sac State alumna running across country for cause

Ari Ramos at the Alabama border.
Ari Ramos poses at the Alabama border with her supply-laden baby jogger. Ramos set out from Jacksonville, Fla., in January and is running across country to raise awareness about obesity.

One Sacramento State alumna is taking the fight for healthy lifestyles to the streets – more than 2,700 miles of them, to be exact.

On Jan. 28, Ari Ramos (’08, Communications) set out from Jacksonville, Fla., on a six-month, transcontinental trek across the United States to fulfill a lifelong dream and to raise awareness about childhood obesity.

Along the way, Ramos is stopping at elementary schools to tell students about healthy lifestyle choices. By Feb. 29 she had reached New Orleans, having logged more than 625 miles completely on foot.

“Even though I’m so tired physically, the next day I wake up and I’m ready to do it again,” Ramos says. “It’s funny what your body can get used to.”

So why would someone – even the most devoted runner – take on such a daunting, physically and mentally demanding endeavor?

Ramos says that her extensive background working in public health informed her personal mission. She says that patients would come frequently to the hospital with diseases and health issues that could be significantly alleviated by better diet and exercise – lifestyle habits that she says are best adopted at a young age.

In early January, Ramos decided it was time to couple her cause with a long-held dream: She left her job at Barton Health in South Lake Tahoe to fly to Florida, take up the mantle of healthy living, and carry it all the way across the country.

The task is monumental: In addition to the staggering distance, Ramos, armed with little more than a baby jogger full of supplies and some seriously sturdy running shoes, has had to cope with long, lonely days with the open road as her only company. She sets up her speaking engagements at elementary schools and is her own one-woman PR company; she relies on various hosts along the way for lodging and is chronicling her experience on social media.

“I feel very lucky, because a lot of people believe in my dream,” Ramos says. “People that don’t even know me are willing to go out of their way to make sure that I’m safe, that I have a place to stay. I’ve been very, very lucky so far.”

Despite the challenges, Ramos is resolute in her goal, learning more about herself with every mile she puts in the rear view. When she reaches her final destination – Ramos plans to finish her trek in San Francisco – she will have accomplished something few even imagine.

“I feel that following your dream regardless of how crazy it is, it’s going to be hard, like it’s been hard for me,” Ramos says, “but I feel like the reward in the end is much greater.”

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Former Sac State soccer star returns to familiar field with Republic FC

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After patrolling Hornet Field for years in the green and gold, Max Alvarez was back sporting a whole new kit.

More than 900 fans turned out Feb. 24 for the first public “friendly” soccer exhibition between Sacramento State and the region’s fastest-growing professional sports franchise, Sacramento Republic FC. Alvarez (’13, Communications) made his triumphant return to the field where he made his mark in Hornet history, and he did not disappoint (check out Max’s profile at www.csus.edu/made/alvarez.html). Enjoy some of the sights from a memorable game!

Former Hornet receiver scoring big in Hollywood

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Ryan Coogler was one of the Hornets’ top wide receivers; now, he is one of the film industry’s brightest rising stars. (Sacramento State/Randy Allen)

In just a few years, writer and director Ryan Coogler has gone from making catches on the football field to making Oscar-nominated films in Hollywood.

Coogler (’07, Business Administration) was one of Sacramento State’s most dynamic wide receivers and a three-time winner of the Big Sky Conference’s All-Academic award, but this year he’s bringing in a whole other kind of hardware: His latest film, the highly touted Rocky sequel, Creed, earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor – the first Oscar nod for one of the young director’s movies.

It has been a whirlwind ride for Coogler, 29, who first got behind a camera while a business major at Sac State; still, despite his relative youth, he clearly has no problems directing A-list talent:

Creed’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor is a category came for a performance by megastar Sylvester Stallone, who won a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Award for his portrayal of a world-weary Rocky Balboa. The film also netted Coogler the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association “Next Generation” Award.

The awards are the culmination of this past year’s buzz surrounding Coogler’s latest film, which was both a critical and commercial darling. His major motion picture debut Fruitvale Station grossed $16 million worldwide; Creed netted more than two and a half times that its first week in theaters.

Coogler still is just getting started as a Hollywood filmmaker, though you would be hard-pressed to tell given his body of work to date. With demand for his talents surging and even bigger directing projects on the horizon – including Marvel’s Black Panther for 2018 – it is hard to imagine that Creed will be his last Oscar-nominated film.

Click here to check out Ryan’s Made at Sac State story.