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Holy Half Marathon

Carolyn Green | Monday, January 23, 2012

March 24, 2012 marks the eighth annual running of the Holy Half Marathon, an experience that has become one of the greatest traditions at the University of Notre Dame. One of the largest student-organized events on campus, the Holy Half Marathon is completely unique in its ability to unite students, faculty, alumni, members of the South Bend community, and people from across the country in an atmosphere of fun, athleticism and short-shorts.

The Holy Half Marathon began in 2005, when a group of students decided to band together as a “fitness experiment,” essentially just to see if they could run 13.1 miles in an organized fashion. That year, about 80 runners participated, and they raised $1,000 for the Louis J. Acompora Foundation, a foundation for the awareness of the importance of automatic external defibrillators in schools.

As the race gathered followers and attention, the number of participants and amount of money raised for charity continued to grow. In 2011, 1,340 runners raised over $40,000 for local South Bend charities Michiana Down Syndrome, the Center for the Homeless and St. Adalbert’s School. In 2012, the Holy Half remains a completely non-profit organization and will donate all of its proceeds to Hope Ministries and the St. Joseph County Public Library.

When it comes to the Holy Half, whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right. As a USA Track and Field certified course, the Holy Half creates an opportunity for more intense runners to qualify for larger races and test their skills against the competition. On the other hand, the Holy Half is equally suited for runners who may not necessarily want to lead the pack, but still want the challenge of training for and completing a half marathon.

For those who have never run a half marathon before, what better place to run your first race than at our beautiful University of Notre Dame, with its shining Golden Dome, sparkling lakes and lack of any significant changes in elevation? As always, the Holy Half Marathon will feature a 10K option, which offers all the same benefits given to marathon finishers, but requires half the distance in return.

Sponsored by the Class of 2014, the 2012 Holy Half Marathon will be better than ever. Expect to see a new course (a hockey arena now stands in the middle of the old one), an entirely new marketing campaign, new T-shirts and Holy Half merchandise, and more pre- and post-race food and entertainment than ever before. Jimmy John’s, alone, has already pledged 5,000 sandwiches. Oh, baby.

Without spoiling all the surprises, runners will receive a special blessing by University President Fr. John Jenkins, entertainment both on and off the course from dorms, DJs and campus musical groups and opportunities to win amazing raffle prizes such as Xbox Kinects, tablet computers and gear and autographs from Notre Dame coaches and famous athletes.

To ensure the high quality of the Holy Half, the number of participants will initially be capped at 1,000 runners, so hurry to register before all the spots are taken. Registration is available online through Student Shop ND, and will also take place in the dining halls and LaFortune Student Center on Feb. 29-31.

The Holy Half website (www.nd.edu/~holyhalf) provides information about the running, sponsoring and volunteering for the Holy Half. Follow the Holy Half on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Holy-Half-Marathon/188421987851816) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/HolyHalf) for exclusive updates, training tips and motivation. Finally, read the bi-weekly Holy Half Marathon column in The Observer for even more inspiration and news about the race.

 The Holy Half is more than just another run. It is a source of pride for the campus and the community, and a must-have experience for Notre Dame students, alumni and anyone else who loves running, Notre Dame or sub sandwiches.

Do something good for yourself and others — run the Holy Half.


Carolyn Green is the student director of the Holy Half Marathon. She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.