- Paige Roberts
Lace Up and Help Out: Mount Athletics Hosts "Run the Mount" Virtual 5k/10k/Half Marathon
Log some serious mileage, connect with family and friends and stay healthy this fall by participating in the “Run the Mount” Virtual 5k/10/k/Half Marathon until the end of October.
Challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have forced the postponing of varsity athletic seasons and the cancellation of in-person fundraising events. Shifts in plans require members of the Mount community to find creative ways to get active while social distancing. The “Run the Mount” Virtual Challenge provides students, alumni, parents, and faculty and staff with a safe, enjoyable way to support Mount Athletics and their hardworking student-athletes.
Participants have the option of choosing from a 5k, 10k, half marathon or trifecta (all three distances) race distance. The longer the distance, the more support that Mount Athletics receives. Although the Mount continues to strive to provide a positive collegiate athletics experience despite the difficulties of the pandemic, “We still need the tremendous support of our loyal donors to help keep moving Mount Athletic forward”, says Director of Athletic Development, Kevin Robinson Jr.
Since on-campus fundraising events must remain limited this semester, holding virtual events is the next best option. Robinson affirms the effectiveness of hosting a virtual run amidst the current circumstances, “We felt this was a great avenue to safely raise money while promoting and benefiting Mount student-athletes.” Not only is it a safer alternative, but the shift to an online format allows for wider participation from Mount community members across the country and around the world.
With folks joining in from as far as Australia, Mount Athletics has seen increased engagement with alumni who have yet to connect back with the Mount until joining the virtual challenge, according to Brooke Kovalcik, administrative assistant for athletic development. While the annual “Around the Mount” Triathlon continued to see a decline in popularity and in the amount of funds raised in recent years, this year’s virtual challenge offers a new, simple way to get involved while supporting Mount Athletics. Organizing the event required a small amount of work, but hopes to provide “a decent payout, and it supports our student-athletes.” says Kovalcik.
Women’s basketball alum, Susie Rowlyk (C’95), shared her gratitude for the convenience of the event in that she and her family can participate while juggling a busy life and without having to make the trek to the Mount from Springfield, Pennsylvania. Her two young daughters, ages 7 and 10, are joining in on the challenge on top of soccer practice this fall. When asked about her reason for participating, Rowlyk emphasized the connection she feels to the Mount, “It tugged on my heartstrings a little bit”, creating an increased incentive to join and give back.
An ambitious bunch, Mike O’Grady (C’81) and his family full of alumni all pledged to run the trifecta race distance this October in memory of his father, William O’Grady (C’52). “My father absolutely loved the Mount,” recounts O’Grady, “so we figured this would be a good way of all of us pulling together to do something that he would really appreciate.” After organizing virtual running events for the Mount’s Women’s Rugby team alongside head coach Douglas in the spring with great success, O’Grady decided it would be just as fun to participate in this fall’s “Run the Mount” Virtual challenge.
Registering for the challenge is easy. Participants can sign up online by filling out a form through this link, https://advancement.msmary.edu/register/RuntheMount2020, or access it via the event’s Facebook page. Choose a race distance, challenge friends and family to join you and find a pleasant day to run or walk your chosen distance any time before October 31. Registration includes a “Run the Mount” short sleeve t-shirt (with the option of upgrading to a performance-level shirt), access to a playlist full of motivating songs as well as a personalized Run the Mount race bib.
To help inspire others to join the challenge, Mount Athletics encourages participants to share their best photos using the hashtag #RuntheMount on the event’s Facebook page. The Athletic Department will be giving away Mount swag to their favorite submissions! Top finishers will also receive participation awards.
Brothers and Mount Alumni Justin (C’05) and Brendan McMahon (C’03) share their excitement in completing an early morning 10k at Valley Forge for the “Run the Mount” Virtual Challenge.