Students Run Marathon to Raise Money for Charity

Boston Marathon 2010
Kathryn C. Reed

Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot may have set a new men’s course record—2:05:52—during yesterday’s Boston Marathon, but a handful of Harvard students ran the race with a different goal in mind—raising funds for charity.

For Samuel B. Novey ’11, yesterday’s race was the culmination of months of preparation and fundraising. In hopes of raising money for Citizen Schools, an organization that fosters after-school programs for low-income students, Novey took on the persona of “Burgerman” and ran the 26.2 mile race in a burger suit, complete with lettuce, onions, and tomato. In the weeks leading up to the marathon, Novey organized weekly group runs in hopes of getting the community involved in his plan.

“Burgerman was a way to tell a story,” said Novey, who finished the marathon in a little over 4 hours. “How I was tapping into my passion for burgers to help education quickly became a story for all of us of how we as citizens can all tap into our resources.”

In the end, Novey and his two fry-costumed companions—who ran as “bandits,” meaning they lacked official numbers—amassed $13,643 in donations for Citizen Schools—significantly shy of his $100,000 goal.

Kellie E. O’Toole ’11 and Benjamin A. Pinkas ’11 were two of the 239 runners to undertake the race as part of the American Liver Foundation’s Run for Research team.

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“It was very difficult, but totally worth it when you see all those people in liver-orange out there on the course,” O’Toole said. “It was really powerful giving all your energy in one day for a cause, running for people who are giving it their all every day.”

Pinkas said the marathon—his first—was “an incredible experience.”

“The fans along the way were more than I could ever ask for, especially around the colleges,” he said. “There was this spirit that really lifts you...you go and high five them, and just that touch gets you going.”

The American Liver Foundation began the practice of raising money for charity through volunteer Boston Marathon runners in 1989. This year, the Boston Athletic Association allocated 1,350 marathon numbers for people running in support of charity.

In addition to those participating in support of outside organizations, 10 Harvard undergraduates ran as part of the Harvard College Marathon Challenge, which raises funds for the Phillips Brooks House Association.

Kelly A. Evans ’10 was among the HCMC runners to participate in this year’s marathon.

“It’s a long road of fundraising, of training,” Evans said, “but it’s just so much fun when you get there and realize how much you’ve accomplished.”

—Staff writer Sofia E. Groopman contributed to the reporting of this story.

This article has been revised to reflect the following corrections:

CORRECTIONS: April 20, 2010

An earlier version of the Apr. 20 news article "Students Run Marathon to Raise Money for Charity" incorrectly stated that Rober Kiprono Cheruiyot ran the Boston Marathon in 2:05:51. The correct time is 2:05.52.

The article also stated that Harvard College Marathon Challenge raises funds for the Phillips Brooks House Association and Project HEALTH. In fact, HCMC does not raise money for Project HEALTH, and all money goes to PBHA.

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