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Lyons hosts 17th 5k Mara Fox Run

by NICOLE TOCZAUER | Monday, October 4, 2010

What started out as a chilly morning broke into an interlude of sunshine just long enough for the runners to weave their way around the 5k Mara Fox course Saturday.

Over 300 people participated in the 17th annual Mara Fox Run sponsored by Lyons Hall, event co-commissioners Melissa Buddie and Erika Miller said.

During this brief burst of warmth, runners and volunteers gathered to celebrate the life of Mara Fox, a freshman in Lyons Hall who was killed by a drunk driver on Nov. 13, 1993. Coming to Notre Dame from northern Virginia, Fox intended to study as a psychology and Spanish double major.

The money raised from the run goes toward a scholarship that supports students to study abroad in Toledo, Spain, where Fox had dreamed of traveling, Fox’s mother Teresa McCarthy said.

“We’re now sending a minimum of two students each spring,” she said. “One year we sent three.”

Each applicant must write an essay about how they embody Fox’s characteristics and how they would help others while abroad. McCarthy said Fox instinctively knew she wanted to help others.

“Eventually, when Mara got her degree she wanted to work with children in the Hispanic community,” she said. Pointing to her heart, McCarthy continued, “She just had this great love for people, and she knew it right from here.”


Buddie and Miller contacted alumni and businesses to further support this cause. With alumni donations, funds gained from race registration and sponsorships from several companies, Buddie said more than $3,000 was raised. These companies included Chipotle, Between the Buns, Outback Steakhouse and Luna Bars.

PILLARS, a group on campus aimed at increasing alcohol awareness, and the Office of International Studies also worked to honor Fox’s memory by promoting the event. McCarthy said she is grateful to all participants, but especially Lyons rector Denise McOsker, who has helped continue the event every year.

“I appreciate PILLARS coming in, and these young women putting in the amount of work that goes into this,” she said. “But I want to really thank Denise. She’s been a very happy, faithful person all this time.”

The race itself was a 5k that stretched down South Quad, wound around Saint Mary’s and St. Joseph lakes and ended under the Lyons arch, a symbolic touch added by the co-commissioners this year. There was also a Fun Walk for non-runners.

The male winners were seniors Michael Hogan, Evan Possley and Matthew Zak. The top females were senior Laura Lindsley, sophomore Alison Podlaski and senior Caroline Green. The top finishers from Lyons included freshman Meredith Houska and senior Katie Sample.

Leading up to the race, McCarthy gave a speech in the Coleman-Morse lounge on Friday night about what happened to her daughter. Buddie also said Lyons sponsored a dance in the Monogram Room at the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center.

“The speech was fantastic,” Buddie said. “We’ve never had this before, and it was just a beautiful talk on what happened to Mara and why it’s important to run this race.”

Every year, Fox’s family and friends come to the race. McCarthy said this year about 20 people came, and she said Fox would appreciate the cause her name has inspired.

“Mara is with us here today. Her memory lives on, and for a good cause,” she said. “I know she would be pleased with that.”