60 Students Team-Up To Run For the Harvard College Marathon Challenge

The Boston Marathon may be more than a month away, but sixty members of the Harvard community are already racing to gather pledges for the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) and Project HEALTH.

The Harvard College Marathon Challenge (HCMC), launched this year, picked participants from a pool of 500 people who entered a lottery. Those selected have been collecting pledges to benefit both social-service organizations.

HCMC Fundraising Manager Charles J. McNamara ’07 said that many participants, which include students and staff members, are close to reaching their fundraising goals. Undergraduates must raise $500, and other participants must raise $1000. According to McNamara, the college community has been supportive, despite the difficulty of raising awareness because it is HCMC’s inaugural year.

“It’s an experiment,” said McNamara. “But so far it has gone well.”

But participants have also been intensifying their training sessions in preparation for the marathon next month. The self-described “Training Czar of HCMC” Matthew R. Conroy ’07 said that training started in early fall, shortly after participants were selected. Conroy is also a Crimson photo editor.

While much of the training has been done on an individual basis, many participants choose to train together, Conroy said. Members of HCMC described the intensity of training as grueling.

“When you go out for a 17 or 18 mile run on Saturday morning, you’re pretty much done for the rest of the day,” said McNamara.

“If you look at a map of Boston, there are all these distant places,” said participant Peter A. Lee ’07. “And you just run to them.”

Members of the HCMC will run in the 110th Boston Marathon on April 17.

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