The 8th annual Dean of Students Half Marathon Challenge participants are currently training for the San Antonio Rock â€˜nâ€™ Roll Marathon on December 6, 2015. The group of runners includes student, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents training to complete a half marathon. Over 25,000 participants race in the Rock â€˜nâ€™ Roll Marathon each year with the Dean of Students Half Marathon Challenge runners competing as one group.
David Tuttle, the associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, has led the program since its inception.
â€œI had done various run with the dean programs before but when the Rock â€˜nâ€™ Roll came here it provided an opportunity to do something a little bit different. People were very responsive to it in the first year, so we started doing it consecutively,â€ said Tuttle.
The Dean of Students Half Marathon participants run for the Kayla Mire Food Drive charity. Kayla Mire was a Trinity University graduate who passed away in 2010. The food drive was named in her honor in 2011.
â€œOur charity is the Kayla Mire Food Drive that we do. She was a student who died in 2010 after she graduated. She was a big advocate for the homeless and for people with mental illness. The runners are each asked to donate 13 items or $13. And then they help with the food drive that we do throughout November leading up to the race,â€ said Tuttle.
Training…. officially began during Labor Day weekend with a series of short runs. Tuttle recommends that participants who join the group be able to run three miles by the start of the training.
â€œWe havenâ€™t hit big mileage yet. Weâ€™re mostly in the four-five range right now. During the week people are encouraged to run at least two times,â€ said Tuttle.
Some runners like, Kassie Kelly, a sophomore and music education major, never considered herself a runner before training for the Half Marathon Run.
â€œIâ€™ve never run one before. I was never much of an athlete as a kid. Iâ€™m doing it because itâ€™s a personal goal, something to achieve, and defy the odds,â€ said Kelly.
The 16 week long training works runners from three miles up to 13 miles by race day. Currently the participants have been training at five miles this week.
Caroline Grand, a sophomore and philosophy major, is training for the Deanâ€™s Half Marathon for her second consecutive year.
â€œThis really got me into running more than two or three miles. We incrementally work our way up. We have longer runs on the weekends and have shorter miles during the week. The longer runs arenâ€™t really about speed, so much as working up your endurance,â€ said Grand.
Runners will take different routes each week through lower socioeconomic areas and wealthier areas. The purpose is to contrast the two areas and reveal the needs of the San Antonio community, according to Tuttle.
â€œPart of the idea is to expose the student runners to the socio-economic disparity while runningâ€¦And to show that within running distance of campus thereâ€™s this difference between the haves and the have-nots,â€ said Tuttle. â€œAnd to drive home the point of how important it is to take care of the have-nots and one way to do that is through the Food Drive.â€
Included in the training are runs during events around San Antonio. For instance, the runners will race in the Siclovia Run on September 27, the Family Weekend Fun Run on October 3, and the Alumni Weekend 5K Run, among others.
Many of the runs will include Tuttleâ€™s dog Sochi training side-by-side, according to Grand.
â€œI really like running with Dean Tuttleâ€™s dog except that she makes it look so easy. Iâ€™ll be panting going up a hill, thinking Iâ€™m not going to make it, and the dog will just be trotting along. She goes on 10 mile runs with us and is totally okay,â€ said Grand.
Rachel Boaz, the residential life coordinator, explained that the running community is very supportive.
â€œWith running I love that thereâ€™s already a community in placeâ€¦Last weekend was the first four mile run, the contour loop, which was super hilly. I had been sick that week, so I was struggling. One of the leaders of the group dropped back and stay with meâ€¦to offer encouragement,â€ said Boaz.
Tuttle explains that his favorite moment is seeing runners make the achievement of completing the Half Marathon Challenge.
â€œMy favorite part of the program is getting to know the runners and see people accomplish what they might not know that they could accomplish,â€ said Tuttle.