Eliot Circular

Run Silent, Run Deep

Physics major Will Holdhusen ’16 rounds the  St. Johns Bridge on the Portland Marathon.

Physics major Will Holdhusen ’16 rounds the St. Johns Bridge on the Portland Marathon.

Don’t look now, but the crimson blur streaking out of the corner of your eye might just be a Griffin.

In August, Reed fielded a team for the Hood to Coast Relay for the first time ever. In September, Reed held a 5K Odyssey run that drew 197 runners. And last month, Reed notched a record turnout in the Portland Marathon, with no fewer than 57 Reed students, alumni, and staff running—in all likelihood Reed’s strongest showing in an off-campus sporting event in the college’s history.

Has Reed caught running fever?

“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.”

For many decades, Reed’s attitude towards sports contained a dollop of frost. President William Foster [1910-19] sniffed that football was one of the “three great vices” of college life. (The other two? 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 the domain of pusillanimous puffballs—students have long elbowed Foster’s disdain to the side and pursued a staggering range of athletic activity, in keeping with Juvenal’s ideal of a sound mind in a healthy body.

Nowhere is this enthusiasm more emphatic than in the field of bipedal locomotion. Last year, Paul Whittredge ’12 ran two miles in 10:21, shattering the old Reed record set by George Barnes ’58 in 1956. Then bio major Ethan Linck ’13 broke the record for the fastest time around Mount Rainier, finishing the 93-mile trail in 27:19:19.

The idea of making a splash at the Portland Marathon originated with trustee and avid runner John Bergholz ’83. “The marathon is such a great expression of the human spirit, of individual triumph and of community,” John says. “It is a challenge that pushes one’s mental as well as physical endurance. In short, it’s not unlike attending Reed College.”  

Reed’s fastest marathon runner was econ major Jimmy LaBelle ’15, who blazed across the finish line in 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 Mike Brody, dean of students, who posted a nimble 1:41:01 (apparently chasing after students does wonders for one’s stamina).

And lest anyone fret that running is somehow incompatible with Reed’s distinctive brand of humor, never fear. Tony Palomino,  computer user services director, ran the full marathon—while juggling.