Fist run a rite of passage for men’s lacrosse teammates

As the scrimmages conclude and the rigorous schedule of practicing and lifting comes to a halt, the lacrosse players of Detroit Mercy begin to set their sights on a trip home and a break for the holidays.

The one thing standing in their way is the 10-mile march to the Joe Louis Fist.

The Fist Run is a tradition that dates back over a decade. First run by the 2011 Titans, it has been a bonding exercise that signifies the team is set for the upcoming season.

“This is our final training of the semester, and it is a chance for us to come together as a team, while still in competition,” Head Coach Chris Kolon said.

This year’s Fist Run took place last week. But I still remember my first. After committing to Detroit, my first piece of research was to figure out more about this world-renowned Fist Run.

Prior to coming here, the furthest I had ever run at once was, maybe, two miles. But as a walk-on, I had much more to prove than running.

I barely made it through my first fall season. It was a huge adjustment. Going through the fall, I learned a lot about being able to shut my brain off, put my head down and just work.

If I had to explain my first Fist Run in one word, it would be: Hell.

I remember it was suppose to be postponed because we got eight inches of snow the day before and the sidewalks weren’t plowed.

We ran anyway.

The last thing Coach said while addressing the team was urging us to put our headphones away and take in the city, the sights and sounds of Detroit, for all its glory.

With those words, I could tell how much this run meant to him, the program and the city.

The first mile was a cakewalk, spirits were high and the team and I were running at a valet jog pace. Once we finally got to Woodward Avenue, I thought we were just about there. Locals were lined up cheering us on.

The runner’s high had kicked in and I felt brand new. That’s when Coach Kolon pulled up to me on his bike.


“Yes Coach?” I barely squeaked out between breaths.

“You see that large building with ‘GM’ on the side?” He said, pointing to a skyscraper you could barely depict out of the distant fog. “You hit that building and you’re done.”

That building never got closer.

Stride by stride, blocks went by two at a time and that building was not getting closer.

I decided to shelve Coach’s advice and finish by putting my head down and taking it step by step.

The snow had turned into water and made its way into my socks.

My legs felt like mush, my face wind-burnt by the cold air.

Then I heard the roar of the team when I turned the corner and had one block to go.

The cheers were worth all the pain and all the miles.