This year’s Boston Marathon will mark the first anniversary of last April’s finish-line bombings and the murder of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who was killed days after the marathon in his patrol car outside the Stata Center as he watched over the campus.
“Amid the shock and grief of Officer Collier’s death last spring, the MIT community came together with strength, compassion, and support,” says Tom Gearty, editorial director in MIT’s Office of Resource Development and one of the volunteers coordinating the effort. “These were qualities that reflected his impact on campus, and we hope to celebrate that spirit on the marathon course.”
The first anniversary will be very emotional for people across the MIT community, predicts fellow organizer Kris Brewer, webmaster for the School of Engineering and a member of the MIT Outing Club with Collier. “We want MIT Strong to serve as a visible presence for MIT at the marathon, to honor Sean’s life, and to raise money for the Collier Fund to support his legacy here,” he says.
MIT Strong received the invitational entries from the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), the nonprofit organization that manages the Boston Marathon. The group hopes to assemble a team that represents a cross-section of the MIT community, Brewer says.
To apply for one of the 25 available entries, interested participants must:
- be a member of the extended MIT community — students, faculty, staff, and alumni;
- be currently training at a level to safely and successfully complete the Boston Marathon on April 21 in six hours or less;
- pay the Boston Marathon registration fee and any other expenses associated with traveling to and running the marathon; and
- commit to raising a minimum of $4,000 for the Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund at MIT, the same fundraising minimum for organizations in the BAA official charity program.
MIT Strong will also welcome Institute-affiliated runners with their own official entry for the marathon, such as those who registered after meeting the race’s qualifying standards, according to Gearty. For runners with their own entry, the fundraising commitment is $1,000, he says, but these runners cannot be committed to another charity. “MIT Strong is representing the MIT community. We do not want to detract from the efforts of other organizations and teams taking part in Boston 2014,” he says.
The team will have regular meetings at MIT and will organize group training runs on the marathon course, but participants may be MIT community members living anywhere in the world, says Stephanie Kloos, another of the group’s organizers and director of member services and fitness at the Zesiger Center.
“We are very grateful to the BAA for giving us this opportunity,” Kloos says. “It’s important for the MIT community to feel part of the marathon next April.”
To apply to join the team and to learn more details, visit mitstrong.mit.edu.
Applications are due by Jan. 20. MIT Strong will notify accepted runners on Jan. 23, then send each participant an entry to register for the Boston Marathon before the BAA’s Feb. 1 deadline.