Before the 9th annual Brian Honan 5k Race in Allston last Sunday, Medha B. Gargeya '14 had never run a race. But when she found out that Harvard would cover the registration fee for the first 100 students to sign up, she decided to make the Honan 5K her first.
What struck Gargeya most about her first race, however, was not the time or the distance. Instead, she said, it was the "supportive" and "enthusiastic" atmosphere surrounding the race.
The Honan 5K was originally founded in memory of Boston city councilman Brian J. Honan, who passed away in 2002 from complications linked to cancer surgery. Proceeds from the race go toward the Brian J. Honan Charitable Fund, which supports a number of causes, including youth education. Massachusetts congressman Kevin G. Honan, the brother of Brian J. Honan, said that this year's race attracted approximately 1,200 runners, the largest number in the race's history.
"I was really touched by the number of people on the sidelines, cheering, and handing out water," Gargeya said. "It was a really warm race, and not just weather wise."
Mythilli Prabhu '13, who was running in the race for the second time, echoed Gargeya's sentiments on the feeling of the race.
"Everone was super friendly, super happy," she said. "It was a great way to start a Sunday morning."
Honan also said the event focused more on creating a connection between people than on the finish times displayed on the clock.
"We're not just about fast runners," he said. "We're about building community spirit and getting people out here for a good cause."
Honan praised Harvard's large showing at the race, noting that Harvard won the Honan Cup, an award given to the school which places the fastest runners in the race.
Christine M. Heenan, vice president of Harvard public affairs and communications, said the race serves as another example of Harvard bonding with the larger area.
“It allows Harvard and the community to come together to support an important cause,” she said.
Craig Rodgers, a councilor at the Bureau of Study Counsel who also participated in the race, said that the event represented a great way for members of Harvard to go out into the community and enjoy a day together. He noted that in addition to the actual race, many groups walked over to the starting line together, and then grabbed lunch afterwards.
“It was a really fun way not just to run a race but to spend some time with friends,” Rodgers said.
Gargeya, who ran the race for fun, said the experience inspired her to run in the next one.
“Next time,” she said, “I’m going to try and break my record.”
—Staff writer Mercer C. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.