By Kathryn Moore,Staff Writer
More than 1,200 miles away from starting line of the Boston Marathon, Union students, faculty, staff and community members gathered Saturday at the starting line of the inaugural Mini Boston Marathon, a fundraiser for GO Boston teams 1 and 2.
T.R. Parker, assistant professor of library services, outreach librarian and leader of the GO Boston 1 trip, came up with the idea of a race on campus. He ran the Boston Marathon in 2009 and 2010 and said he wanted to connect GO Boston’s patrons with the city of Boston by referring to one of the most famous footraces in America.
“The actual Boston Marathon is 26.2 miles,” Parker said. “We just moved the decimal to make this a smaller version of the big race.”
The 2.62-mile race began at 9:15 a.m. in front of Providence Hall, and the course led more than 120 runners around Union’s campus and concluded by Miller Tower. The race’s top male finisher was Logan Smith, junior English major, and the top female finisher was MaryAnn McClendon, sophomore music major.
The GO team members liked Parker’s idea because it was different than other fundraisers they had previously done, said Lara Meeks, sophomore accounting major and GO Boston 1 team member.
“We knew it would be easy to get people to participate because there are lots of people on campus who enjoy running,” Meeks said. “The idea was to make the race as much like the Boston Marathon as possible.”
While most participants wore traditional running attire for the race, some runners creatively dressed as superheroes and businessmen.
Ben Hamilton, sophomore digital media studies major, wore a suit and sneakers to run the race.
“I always like dressing up whenever I run races for fundraisers,” Hamilton said. “It adds an element of fun to the experience.”
The GO Boston team members performed race-day duties such as registering participants, making banners, directing runners on the course and cheering at the finish line. Team members received a share of the race’s proceeds for volunteering and encouraging others to sign up.
“We aren’t expecting everyone to run the race,” Meeks said. “They can hop, walk, crawl or skip. We just want it to be a fun experience for everyone.”
For participants just wanting to run, the race cost $10. The cost of the race and a t-shirt was $20. The Mini Boston Marathon’s T-shirts portray the official Boston Marathon mascot¬, a unicorn, which represents the unreachable goal. With hard work, athletes can approach excellence even if they never achieve the goal, or “catch the unicorn,” said Meeks.
GO Boston 1, led by Parker, will assist City on a Hill Church and serve the Boston community through volunteering in various social service areas. The Boston 2 team, led by Taylor Worley, associate dean for spiritual life and assistant professor of Christian thought and tradition, will assist a Russian church plant and minister to international students in Boston. Both teams will serve during spring break.
“We are hoping that if GO Boston is a trip that keeps happening every year, this fundraiser could become an annual event,” Parker said.