‘Riders on the storm’

Five students run with parachutes during windstorm


Jacob Brill had “the best bad idea” on Saturday night.

The National Weather Service issued a high-wind warning for Sunday and five sophomore students knew exactly how to take advantage of it. 

Brill, a sophomore chemical and biological engineering major, planned to tie a parachute to his back and run on the track at the Walter Kunz Stadium with his friends from the UB Running Club. 

He texted their group chat and four others — Nick Taboni, Dylan Stearns, Omar Radwan and Michael Berger — decided to join him in his venture. 

Their friend Josh Lacey, a sophomore computer science major, gave them permission to borrow a parachute he uses for resistance training. 

Lacey, who did not condone the activity, made them sign a waiver absolving him of any liability. 

“The winds are very dangerous out there,” Lacey said. “I made them sign a waiver so I wouldn’t be responsible in case one of them flew away with the wind or something.”  

Their friend’s obvious lack of approval only worked to strengthen the activity’s appeal.

“We assumed if Josh was against it, we had to do it,” Berger said. 

And they did. 

The gang of five went out to Kunz Stadium around 3 p.m. Sunday at the height of the wind storm and filmed videos of eachother running on the track with parachutes tied to their backs. 

Taboni even ran backwards to test his abilities.

“Once the wind grabbed the parachute, there was no real way to prevent being blown away,” Taboni said.

Running with a parachute attached to their backs, aside from functioning as a “fun” bonding activity, was a good exercise for the sophomores. 

“It’s supposed to make it harder to run,” Radwan said. “The wind would push against us into the parachute, and we’re trying to push forward, so it’s a good exercise.”  

The group had to cut their adventure short due to sleet, but Taboni said they would definitely try it again.

Tanveen Vohra is a co-senior news editor and can be reached at tanveen.vohra@ubspectrum.com and @TanveenUBSpec. 


Tanveen Vohra is a former senior news editor and covered international relations and graduate student protests.