No fewer than 57 Reed runners participated in the Portland Marathon and Half-Marathon yesterday, Reed’s strongest showing in the event, and possibly its strongest showing in any off-campus sporting event in the college’s history.
Reed’s fastest marathon runner was econ major James LaBelle ’15, who crossed the finish line in the scorching time of 2:59:44. Close on his heels came physics major Will Holdhusen ’16, who clocked an impressive 3:00:14. The fastest half-marathon runner was Dean of Students Mike Brody, who posted a nimble 1:41:01 (apparently chasing after students does wonders for one’s stamina).
Reed’s turnout included 15 students, 3 professors, 11 staff, 14 alumni, and assorted other lifeforms (friends, family) and reflects a surge of interest in running on campus in the last couple of years. In August, Prof. Paul Gronke [poli sci] and Prof. Suzy Renn [bio] put together a team for the Hood-to-Coast Relay, which included two students, four alumni, and four staff members; the Reed team placed tenth in a division of 84. Last month, Reed’s 5K Odyssey Run drew 197 runners, including 26 students.
For many decades, Reed’s attitude towards sports contained a dollop of frost. President William Trufant Foster declared football to be one of the "three great vices” of college life (the other two being fraternities and frivolity). When the football team of 1957 scored their first touchdown of the season, they were actually booed. But it would be wrong to suggest that Reed was ever a haven for pusillanimous puffballs—at Reed, sports are typically seen as an essential part of an education, not its ultimate purpose. Over the years, Reedies have pursued a staggering range of athletic activities, including mountaineering, rugby, crew, juggling, Ultimate Frisbee, and croquet, in keeping with Juvenal’s dictum that the key to a productive life is a sound mind in a healthy body.
Geometry in motion: Prof. Rao Potluri [math 1973-] brandishes a yellow rose of triumph after running the Portland Marathon.
The idea of making a splash at the Portland Marathon originated with trustee and avid runner John Bergholz ’83, who teamed up with some steadfast campus runners--including alumni and parent relations wrangler Todd Hesse, interim public affairs director Stacey Kim, bookstore manager Ueli Stadler, and President John Kroger--to organize the logistics. Long-distance running “is an essentially Reed thing to do,” says Hesse. “Reedies are constantly pushing themselves intellectually. The mind and body are symbiotic and pushing the limits of the body is consistent with our values.”
“Reedies are very passionate about their schoolwork and their pastimes,” says environmental studies major John Young ’15, who ran the marathon in 3:18:26 and who regularly goes on midday excursions with a campus group known as the Lunchrunners. “And some of these pastimes include serious athletics… Rigorous physical discipline is an essential component to rigorous mental discipline.”
In the predawn darkness before the race, several Reed runners, including President John Kroger and Chinese major Joseph Vincent ’14, boarded the shuttle bus on Botsford Drive bound for downtown Portland. Joseph was lamenting that although he was properly registered and had been training for months, he had neglected to pick up the bib that runners are required to don. Organizers at the starting line were adamant that Joseph could not run without a bib--so President Kroger gave his bib to Joseph. “I can’t be more grateful,” says Joseph, who’s writing his thesis with Prof. Hyong Rhew. Kroger ran back home across the Hawthorne Bridge though the morning mist. “It just felt like the right thing to do,” he said later.
Balls in the air: Reed's director of computer user services, Tony Palomino, ran all 26.2 miles of the 2013 Portland Marathon-- while juggling. Photo by Truman Collins
Joseph proceeded to run the half marathon in 1:42:34. After crossing the finish line, he then kept going. He ran back across the Willamette River, down the Springwater Trail as far as Keana’s Candyhouse, turned around and ran back downtown and crossed the finish line again, with his friends cheering him on. “I still haven't calculated how far I actually ran," he says. "Maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less than 26.2 miles. I could not have asked for a better race day!"
One reason why Reed’s presence at the Portland Marathon was unmistakable was the striking t-shirt designed by Reed magazine designer Tom Humphrey. The shirt depicts a dashing griffin drawn by Laurie Levich, with calligraphy by webmaster Ray Rodriguez, and a quote from Pheidippides, who--according to legend--ran the 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to bring news of the Athenians’ victory over the Persians, gasping “Rejoice, we have won!” before dying from exhaustion. (As most Reedies know, this story is probably apocryphal—it’s not the way Herodotus tells it, anyway.)
And lest anyone be concerned that running is somehow incompatible with Reed’s distinctive sense of humor, never fear— computer user services director Tony Palomino actually ran the marathon while juggling.