With a goal to raise money and spread suicide awareness, Nowak, a 2008 Eastern alumnus, plans on running a marathon in all 50 states.
Nowak started "Just a Mile" after the loss of fellow Sig Ep brother Jesse Mounce to suicide in 2008.
On Feb. 8, 2008, Mounce, a sophomore communication studies major at the time, was found dead in his Ninth Street apartment. Coles County Coroner Michael Nichols told The Daily Eastern News in a Feb. 8, 2008 issue that Mounce's injuries were "apparently self-inflicted."
Nowak said after Mounce's death, running was like a sort of therapy for him.
"I used it as a way to just center myself a clear my mind," Nowak said.
Nowak later ran the Chicago Marathon, his first marathon and an item on his bucket list.
Andrew Shipp, a senior business management major and member of Sig Ep, said Mounce's death had a wide impact.
"It really had a large impact on my fraternity and I know it had a big, even bigger impact on (Nowak)," Shipp said.
Nowak said he decided that if he was going to run, he should run for a reason and raise money and awareness for suicide along the way. The "Just a Mile" foundation was created and Nowak made it his goal to run a marathon in all 50 states while raising at least $1,000 for each marathon for the organization.
"Just a Mile," or "J.A.M.," taken from the initials of Mounce, lends the slogan "managing life's marathon one mile at a time."
As Bro. Chuck Eberly said when he passed along this story:
What a wonderful outcome if Sig Ep runners across the country became connected with Mike’s objectives for “Just A Mile”.