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Holy Half Marathon, feat. You

Carolyn Green | Monday, February 20, 2012

More than anything else, the Holy Half is about the runners. As race directors, we take special considerations to pay individual attention to each person participating in the Holy Half. We have hired professional photographers to capture everyone’s uniquely definitive race moments, we will acknowledge runners by name as they finish, and we have rented more port-a-potties than in years past to ensure that no one experiences any distress during the race. Fun fact: In the business, an extra-large port-a-potty is known as a “Comfort Inn.” We are still waiting for word on the “La Quinta.”

Running should be about you — your motivations, your goals and your desires. Some people run for fitness, others run to procrastinate on homework and others run to simply get away. Most often, people run for a combination of many different factors. For me, running is personal time with myself. I find I have my best, most intimate thoughts while running. Never have I gone for a run and regretted it afterwards.

In the same fashion, people run the Holy Half for many different reasons. Sophomore Jake Frego says he is running the Holy Half to “discover where Carroll is located.” Frego, who participated in the Holy Half last year, loves running for the companionship aspect of the sport. He prefers not to use an iPod when he runs, but to ponder life’s persistent questions with the person running next to him. Frego’s go-to race strategy is pre-race carbo-loading, so he is hoping South Dining Hall is well stocked with spaghetti the night before the Holy Half.

Cassie Mead, who moved to South Bend from Hawaii with her boyfriend, a Submarine Lieutenant and Notre Dame ROTC instructor, is running the Holy Half as her first attempt at the 13.1-mile race. Mead works for the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, for which she is doing a separate fundraiser along with the Holy Half. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, is sometimes referred to as the “enlarged heart” disease, and is the leading killer of young athletes. Even though the Holy Half course will be slightly colder than Mead’s favorite place to run (Diamond Head Crater in Honolulu), Mead will rely on her dedication to her cause and her running partner, Lauren Fenlon, to make it to the finish.

Fenlon and Mead run together on a regular basis. Fenlon played lacrosse for Notre Dame and graduated in 2011 with a major in sociology. She now works as an administrative intern in the Athletics Department and says her favorite thing about running is, “You don’t need anything; you just lace up your shoes and get out there!” Fenlon’s race strategy is to stick with Mead and remember her favorite quote, “No matter how hard life gets, we only have one chance, which is why we owe it to ourselves to make the best of it for as long as we have it.”

Both Seamus Donegan and Kerri Whelan are from New York State, but they come to the Holy Half for different reasons. Donegan has never run more than ten miles before, and is running the Holy Half for fun and for the challenge. Whelan, on the other hand, says she is “all about endurance,” and her favorite place to run is “circles around her competitors.” Whelan names Charlie Weis as her celebrity crush and says her favorite part about running is the finish. Donegan, whose guilty pleasures include warm chocolate chip cookies from South Dining Hall and anything baked by Adam Joslyn, has no specific race strategy. He has only run one race before, a 5-K, but says, “We value the things we work the hardest for.”

On March 24, people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and experience levels will cross the finish line of the Holy Half. No matter their differences, or why they choose to run the Holy Half, they all deserve equal recognition. Of course, not everyone will walk away with a medal (this isn’t CYO basketball), but all will have accomplished something great. Some people will finish their first half-marathon, others will set a new personal record and everyone will help to raise money for local South Bend charities.

Decide why you will run the Holy Half. To borrow a quote from that one famous guy, “Run like a champion today.”


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.