L-R: Ryan Borker, Adam McCready, Thomas Brand, Jean-Paul Lauture
L-R: Chad Galts, John Cunniffe, Samantha Carney
L-R: Jim DiCarlo, Kris Brewer, Dan Oliver '60, Domingo Godoy
L-R: Sally Miller, Jess Rooney Gallagher, Jenn Gagner, Maddie Hickman '11
L-R: Madeline Pascolini-Campbell, Bill King, Joseph Azzarelli, Maggie Lloyd '12
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.
“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.”
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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