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Best College Class? University Credit To Film Ultra-Endurance Race

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Thirty college students from the University of Cincinnati. A five-day wilderness race. The grand setting of Yosemite National Park, and (at the end of it all) a broadcast television production set to air this month on Universal Sports Network.

That’s the gist of a project that’s unfolded over the past year, and it is undoubtedly one of most amazing educational initiatives we’ve seen.

It started with an idea to “totally re-invent the college classroom,” said University of Cincinnati President, Santa J. Ono.

Instruction in the outdoors

Indeed, over the course of five days last summer a student film and production crew followed racers through the Sierra Nevada mountains during the Gold Rush Expedition Race. The five-day race stretched 275 miles across the region.

The students camped out and were on the clock 24 hours each day to get footage from the non-stop endurance race.

Then, back at the university, the students worked as a team across several departments to produce the ‘Gold Rush Expedition Race’ Film Series.

Capturing the action during ‘Gold Rush’ race

It airs as a series of 90-minute documentaries on Universal Sports Network in three installments. The first one is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 16th.

The entire project is the brainchild of Brian Leitten, a producer we met in 2011 in Chile during another event, the Patagonian Expedition Race. Leitten is a University of Cincinnati alum and an endurance racer himself.

He noted, “Working with the students helped my professional growth as much as theirs. It’s a major accomplishment for everyone involved to have our work showcased on a national level.”

University of Cincinnati project group on site in Yosemite

We’re stoked with this film series and happy to see the support on Universal Sports Network. See the trailer below and watch for dates when the ‘Gold Rush Expedition Race’ Film Series will air this fall and into 2015.

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