Many of the University's participants used the grueling Hopkinton-to-Boston race as an opportunity to raise money for a variety of local charities.
A group of 75 students, faculty and administrators ran on behalf of the Campus School, according to CSOM senior Sam Ballweg, who helped organize an effort that raised a record $20,000 for the school that serves children with multiple special education needs.
"It's just an awesome feeling," said Ballweg, "not only to finish the race, but to know that you are doing it for a lot of other people."
Ballweg said that many students are motivated to run the marathon after watching the event in their freshman year. His group provides weekly training sessions, special BC t-shirts, a pre-race pasta meal and bus transportation to the starting line on race day. The runners enlist sponsors to contribute to the Campus School in recognition of their efforts, Ballweg said.
"We work all semester to make it happen," Ballweg said, "but it's worth it when you see the expressions on their faces as they cross the finish line." All 75 runners completed the 26-mile course, Ballweg noted.
This is the fourth year that the student-led marathon race project has benefited the Campus School.
A long-time Boston College faculty member, Saldarini has battled a form of bone marrow cancer for a number of years.
Huff ran the marathon as a member of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Team and raised over $10,000 for the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
"I wore a shirt with a sign on it that read 'For Tony' and when I ran past Boston College the crowd started chanting his name," said Huff, a high school teacher and coach.
"That was all the motivation I needed to finish the race," he said, noting that the 4:05 time he posted was his personal best.
"It's gratifying to do that while making a contribution to cancer research and honoring [Saldarini]," said Huff.
Seven weeks ago, Steinberg decided to run the marathon as a way to raise money for the non-profit foundation. Friends and fellow students pledged $2,500 to his goal.
Seven miles into the marathon, however, Steinberg felt a throbbing pain in his right knee, and by the time he reached the halfway point, he was unable to continue.
"But, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to finish what I had started," he said. "So I walked the final 12 miles." He crossed the finish line in Copley Square just before 6 p.m. to accomplish his goal.
This year's ill-timed injury won't deter Steinberg from competing in future Boston Marathons. "I am definitely going to do it again," he said.
More importantly, Cunningham raised more than $5,500 for the C.J. Valley Memorial Fund of the University of Massachusetts-Worcester Children's Memorial Medical Center. The charity funds research into causes of sudden infant death syndrome.
Cunningham was one of 10 runners to raise money for UMass' Children's Medical Center charities. "With three children of my own, this really struck a chord with me," he said. "Thanks to a lot of good people at BC, we were able to help a great cause."
Cunningham has been running long-distance races since he entered in the 1981 New York City Marathon as an undergraduate at the College of the Holy Cross.
"It's a great winter exercise," he noted. "It gets you out of the holiday slumber and into the fresh air. The Boston Marathon is a real rite of spring."
-Reid Oslin and Stephen Gawlik
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