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Hundreds run 13.1 miles in wintry mix

Nora Kenney | Monday, March 30, 2009

Battling the rain, sleet and snow that doused Notre Dame Sunday morning, 534 runners navigated a 13.1-mile course that started and ended at South Dining Hall for the annual Holy Half Marathon.

The turnout was a surprise for event coordinators Gabby Tate and Sean Kickham, both sophomores.

“It was absolutely amazing especially for a snowy, rainy, sleeting, freezing day.” Tate said.

“We had 159 more runners than last year. … Wow. We made $4,580 more than last year for registration fees,” Kickham said.

The event began Saturday with Mass in Alumni Hall’s chapel and a pasta dinner in the Coleman-Morse Lounge, and ended with an awards ceremony on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., when senior Kieran O’Connor was recognized for being the first male to finish at 1:12:46 and senior Casey Robertson was recognized as the first woman, with a time of 1:30:06.

Junior Catherine Casey, president of the Women’s Running Club, finished second for women, and senior Megan Flynn was third.

Senior Richard Chapman was behind O’Connor, followed by junior Matthew Bartindale.

Bartindale, who had been training for the race since Christmas break, said he was expecting to be in the top 10 but was surprised to finish third place and to set a personal record, despite the harsh racing conditions.

“It was a great feeling finishing the race …,” he said. “I was definitely freezing.”

The sophomore coordinators also reported that the Holy Half received sponsorships from Pangborn Hall, Cavanaugh Hall, NDTV, the Women’s Running Club, Circle K, the Council of Representatives, the Morris Inn and the class of 2011.

Tate and Kickham were responsible for contacting these sponsors, as well as designating the course, advertising the race and organizing food and music. They were extremely grateful to their committee who helped them.

“Sean and I did do a lot, but we couldn’t have done it without our committee,” Tate said. “They were so fun and so positive that it made the hard work bearable.”

Tate said it was exciting to watch the runners, which included students, professors and members of the South Bend community.

“I don’t think I could explain to you just how amazing it felt,” Tate said.

The energetic atmosphere continued as the runners ran around the stadium, past the library, along the perimeter of campus adjacent to Edison Road, to the Main Building, and around the lakes to South Quad – and then repeated the entire course.