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Runners and Supporters Fill Cambridge Streets at Sixth Annual Half Marathon

Friends of Oli Torres traveled to Cambridge to cheer her on during the Cambridge Half Marathon Sunday.
Friends of Oli Torres traveled to Cambridge to cheer her on during the Cambridge Half Marathon Sunday. By Darcy G Lin
By Darcy G Lin, Avani B. Rai, and Akshaya Ravi, Contributing Writers

More than 6,700 runners and their supporters flooded First Street in Cambridge on Sunday morning for the sixth annual Cambridge Half Marathon and 5K race.

The race began early in the morning and ended at Cambridgeside in East Cambridge, with a route that passed by several undergraduate houses and circled Harvard’s athletic fields in Allston.

For some participants, running with others offered a social way to prepare for the race. One runner, Aryeh N. Padwa ’27, described how rewarding it was to experience training and the race itself with friends.

“I had a couple friends that were running with me so it was fun to train together, and I’m just really proud of all of us,” said Padwa.

Mohan A. Hathi ’26 entered the race with a group of approximately 25 other First-Year Outdoor Program leaders. The group registered as a social team called “Friends of Peace” and was provided a tent by the race organizers, which Hathi said served as a key gathering point for the team’s runners.

“We all congregated there and could start together. It was kind of a home base,” he said.

Hathi, who ran alongside his friend Nuriel R. Vera-DeGraff ’26, said he found the race difficult.

“At the end I actually threw up, but then Nurayn caught up to me and we finished together, so it was a great ending,” he added.

The FOP leaders were among many University affiliates participating in Sunday’s race. Harvard on the Move—a University-wide running and walking group to promote healthy living—was the event’s largest social team, with 70 members.

“Our community is very inclusive — we promote ourselves as being open to anyone,” said Morgan T. Redman, a health educator with the Center for Wellness and Health Promotion and a coordinator for Harvard on the Move.

“It was great to have such a large group because I feel like everybody had their little subset to go with,” Redman said.

Supporters, who flocked to the sidewalks to cheer on runners throughout the race, contributed to the “lively” energy of the event.

“The finish line is always super exciting — everyone has their signs,” Melissa LaVita, marketing director of CambridgeSide, a shopping mall in Cambridge.

Among the supporters were Sam A. Cano Cabrera and Andrea T. Buitrago, who flew in this weekend to watch their high school friend, Oli Torres, compete.

“All our friends came from other parts. I came from New York. We all planned to go see her run,” Cano Cabrera said.

“We got here right at 7,” Buitrago said.

The pair carried a poster that read “Run Oli Run” and a large print-out of Torres’ head.

The majority of the funds raised through participation fees and donations will be awarded to more than 20 local charities, including Cambridge Camping and the City of Cambridge Scholarship fund.

Last year’s event brought in $150,000 for Cambridge-based charities. LaVita said the charitable aspect of the half marathon makes the race a “win-win”.

“It's a great event, it brings a lot of people, we raise a lot of money,” she said.

Correction: December 1, 2023

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Mohan A. Hathi ’26 ran beside Nurayn Y Khan ’26. In fact, Hati ran beside his friend Nuriel R. Vera-DeGraff ’26.

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