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Students to run in 11th annual Holy Half

| Friday, March 27, 2015

Students participating in last year’s Holy Half brave the cold and snow to ultimately finish the race’s 13.1 miles.Kevin Song | The Observer

Students participating in last year’s Holy Half brave the cold and snow to ultimately finish the race’s 13.1 miles.

The 11th annual Holy Half Marathon will be held this Saturday. This year’s race will be filled with the maximum 1500 participants, as well as 500 waiting list members, and will benefit the local charities St. Margaret’s House and La Casa de Amistad.

Holy Half President Katie Wood said the tradition started eleven years ago with only 80 runners and earned $1,000 for charity.

“It was really these kids seeing, ‘Hey do you think we could run a half marathon?’” Maria Murphy, Vice Preisdent of the Holy Half, said, “So they decided to put one on, and a couple kids joined in. It’s expanded a lot.”

This year’s race was capped off at 1500 runners, with 500 left on a waiting list.

“We have a strict cap of 1500,” Kate Simons, chief of staff for the Holy Half, said. “The campus is not big enough to go bigger than that. So we’re going to keep it at 1500 for the foreseeable future.”

Wood said registration for the race opened the first week in December, and the 1500-runner cap filled up by early January.

“This is the earliest it’s ever filled up since we’ve been race directors … for the past three years,” Wood said.

After beginning the race at the Stepan Center, the same starting place as last year, runners will embark on a 13.1 mile route that is a departure from past years.

“This year is unique because of all the construction on campus,” Murphy said, “We’re still finalizing the course due to last minute changes we had to make. We’re avoiding the stadium and everything in that direction. We’re seeing a lot of the main sights of Notre Dame Avenue; we’re hitting both of the lakes, which are really nice to run along; God Quad; going up by the grotto.”

Murphy said this year will feature another first – a spaghetti dinner on the Friday before the race.

“Everyone can carbo-load, meet each other, get excited for the race,” she said, “We’re trying to expand it into more of a weekend experience, as opposed to a three-hour race.”

For each of past two years, the Holy Half has raised $30,000 for charity, and all three race directors hope to exceed that figure this year.

The charities the race benefits changes every year, but Simons said they make a point of choosing charities that have a connection with Notre Dame.

“We always try to keep it within the South Bend community,” Wood said.

According to their respective websites, La Casa de Amistad assists bilingual and bicultural members of the community in education and work, with an emphasis on Latinos, and St. Margaret’s House is a day center aiding homeless or suffering women and children in the area.

Anne Arnason, a member of the charity committee and participant in this year’s race, said the club has “done charity days with both of the organizations. With La Casa we went … and toured their building and met with the director of their program, who told us what they do.”

As an organizer, Arnason said she hopes the race “gives students an opportunity to know what their participation in the race is for. Both of the charities will be setting up a booth at the race for both runners and (spectators) to learn more about the organizations, which will hopefully give them a way to make known all the good things that they do for the South Bend community.”

Murphy said emphasizing the charity aspect was the most important part of the race.

“That’s obviously why we’re doing this,” she said. “We’re excited to raise money.”

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About Andrea Vale

Andrea Vale is a freshman at Notre Dame who has previously written for both the Sun Chronicle and the Huffington Post. She plans to major in English with a Creative Writing concentration and a minor in Journalism.

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