Meet the Runners of MIT Strong

by Joe McGonegal on April 3, 2014 · 3 comments

in Alumni Life, Athletics

Slide background L-R: Brian Mulcahy '86, Jeremy Rishel '94, Mike Gerhardt '12, Professor Alex Slocum ’82, SM ’83, PhD ’85
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L-R: Ryan Borker, Adam McCready, Thomas Brand, Jean-Paul Lauture

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L-R: Chad Galts, John Cunniffe, Samantha Carney

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L-R: Jim DiCarlo, Kris Brewer, Dan Oliver '60, Domingo Godoy

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L-R: Sally Miller, Jess Rooney Gallagher, Jenn Gagner, Maddie Hickman '11

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L-R: Madeline Pascolini-Campbell, Bill King, Joseph Azzarelli, Maggie Lloyd '12

Slide background L-R: Professor Nader Tehrani, Stephen Shum SM '11, Charlie Maher, Christina Meagher
Slide background L-R: Professor Dava Newman, Julie Pryor, Rachel DeLucas
Slide background L-R: Stephanie Kloos, Sam Shames, Jonathan Runstadler, Sarah Lewis
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L-R: Gordon Wintrob '12, Tim Mertz, Peter Whincop, Tom Gearty

 

Maggie Lloyd ’12 has dreamed of running the Boston Marathon for years. Since she qualified last fall, she has thought about crossing the finish line every day and what it will mean for her college and her college town, after last year’s violence.

Now, she’ll be making that run with nearly 40 fellow alumni, students, faculty, and friends on the MIT Strong Boston Marathon team in the race’s 118th running.

Maggie Lloyd '12.

Maggie Lloyd ’12.

“I am constantly reminded that this year’s Boston marathon isn’t going to be just another race,” Lloyd says. “I felt helpless after the marathon last year, but I don’t feel that way anymore. What this team is doing is casting aside doubt and fear and showing up in Hopkinton to take back the finish line.”

The team, which formed in January, began with 25 runners committed to raising $4,000 or more. Since then, it has grown to include runners with existing entries who will raise at least $1,000 toward the team’s goals: to honor Officer Collier, celebrate the spirit of the MIT community’s response to the crisis, stand in solidarity with the city of Boston, and support the Collier Fund at MIT.

The runners have no shortage of inspiration. Despite injuries, bad weather, and the typical anxieties of distance running, they are feeling the groundswell of enthusiasm from their peers, family, and alma mater.

Like Lloyd, Mike Gerhardt ’12 has run down Boylston Street before. Last year, however, he was running away from the finish line, amid the chaos, to find safety. Gerhardt and his mother had been there waiting for his father, who was one of the thousands of runners held up on Commonwealth Avenue after the bombs went off.

Later that week, Gerhardt was studying in his room at Zeta Psi when he heard news of an “officer down.” He immediately phoned his dad, a state trooper. “I called him, and he answered, and I just started crying.”

After the bombing, manhunt, and lockdown that week, Gerhardt thought ahead to this year’s race. He grew determined to run. “When I heard about this team, I thought, ‘this is awesome and exactly what I want to do,’” he says.

Brian Mulcahey ’86 has been haunted by memories of the attacks and the stories of Officer Collier and the survivors who continue to struggle to recover.

“Why do I want to do this?  What motivates me to arise at 4:20 a.m. to train in this dark and bitterly cold New England winter?  In a word: passion,” Mulcahey says. “Passion for my alma mater and the amazing spirit it embodies. Passion for honoring Sean’s life and that of the other victims.  Passion for celebrating the progress that hundreds of victims have made since last April.  And passion for showing the world that freedom and compassion will always overcome tyranny and hatred.”

In the aftermath of the bombings, Rich Whalley ’10 saw his parents on live news coverage from the finish line; both had suffered injuries. Whalley’s friend, Gordon Wintrob ‘12, is running the race to support both the Whalleys recovery fund and MIT Strong. “Boston is a magical city and running from Hopkinton to Wellesley to Kenmore Square is an ideal way to experience that magic,” he says.

The team is co-organized by Stephanie Kloos, sophomore Sally Miller, and three staff members: Tom Gearty, editorial director in MIT’s Office of Resource Development, Chad Galts, director of communications for the MIT School of Engineering, and Kris Brewer, webmaster for the School of Engineering. Other alums on the team include Jeremy Rishel ’94, Stephen Shum SM ’11, and Dan Oliver ’60.

Five MIT faculty are on the team, including two alumni. Mechanical engineering professor Alex Slocum ’82, SM ’83, PhD ’85 has already hit his fundraising goal of $5,000 but wants to raise more. “I’m humbled and honored,” says Slocum, “to run for others who cannot. Last year, I felt shock, anger, and sadness. As I run, I’ll be thinking of those killed and hurt last year.”

Professor Alex Slocum '82, SM '83, PhD '85, pictured at the Memorial for Officer Collier. Photo: Reuters.

Professor Alex Slocum ’82, SM ’83, PhD ’85, pictured at the Memorial for Officer Collier. Photo: Reuters.

When she crosses the starting line on April 21 in Hopkinton, Maddie Hickman ’11 will no doubt have last year’s events in mind. As an undergraduate, Hickman met Sean Collier on the MIT Outing Club and they became friends. “We always meant to go jogging together,” says Hickman. “This seems like a fitting tribute.”

For her first marathon, Hickman’s goal is simply to finish. “I will run as slowly as possible,” she says. “I’ll think a lot about Sean along the way.”

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce Mendelsohn April 3, 2014 at 3:05 pm

It’s so awesome to see so many familiar faces–friends, co-workers, colleagues, former students–featured in the photo montage and mentioned in the article. It’ll be an honor to run with them in the 2014 Boston Marathon–26.2 miles of therapy for all of us!

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Alan Friot April 18, 2014 at 9:01 am

April Fifteenth Two Thousand Thirteen

As The Boston Marathon unfurled

Exploded bombs were felt round the world

Only terrorists would want to tout

The death and suffering brought about

With our American life we love

Their attitude we will rise above

We cannot and will not give up hope

We know we will learn and we will cope

No one wants to live a life of fear

So the runners will still run each year

By Alan Friot

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TonyW April 24, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Glad to know the cowardly acts from last year did not deter anyone from competing in the BM….

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