Pilgrims Ready for Notre Dame Trail

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Bill Borders and Clay Ewing will be following in the footsteps of University of Notre Dame founder the Rev. Edward F. Sorin CSS during an Aug. 13 to Aug. 26 event that will have them and other pilgrims walking and biking up to 24 miles each day.

The Notre Dame Trail, which is helping to mark the 175th anniversary of Notre Dame’s founding, will be followed in its entirety by Borders, who attended the school and graduated in 1976, and for the last five days by Ewing, whose daughter, Micki, works for the world-famous university. Bill and his wife, Mary Jo’s son, Patrick, also works for the university.

“I guess I just wanted a challenge” Borders said, now retired. “I wanted the opportunity to repay the university for everything I feel it’s given me.”

It was in November of 1842 that Father Sorin and seven Congregation of Holy Cross brothers walked the nearly 300 miles from Vincennes, home to Indiana’s Catholic bishop, to South Bend to take possession of property given to the religious order for a new college. Sorin and several followers traveled through bitter winter weather, endured trials and tribulations but reached South Bend safely. Notre Dame was founded and became one of the greatest centers of learning in the nation.

Most of the Notre Dame trail will be traveled by foot but parts will be biked on six of the first eight days. Walks average 15 to 20 miles with bike rides of 10 to 24 miles.

Ewing said he’s been training for weeks and said he’s looking forward to unwinding from his daily job for a period of both strenuous exercise and reflection.

“Both of us have deep ties to the school and took advantage of what should be a fun but very spiritual experience,” said Ewing.

There will be daily Mass and reflections. Both men have been reading a biography of the priest.

Both men have taken advantage of Notre Dame’s efforts to promote health and safety during the event, including a walking and biking training, pre-event conditioning and even nutrition. While Bill is on the full scheduled of events, he has trained with his wife, Mary Jo.

Both participants will be joined by families during the event’s final stretch and are proud to have a role in the marking the school’s 17th anniversary.