More than miles

Eau Claire Marathon and Half Marathon expected to unite campus and community



Story by Sammi Wendling, Staff Writer

On May 3 the UW-Eau Claire campus will be full of cheering students, music and organizations, all interacting with an estimated 3,000 runners.

Lauren Gehl, a student, is running for World Vision, a Christian nonprofit organization that works to build water wells and sanitation in various African countries.

“The feeling of running for a cause like this far outweighs the satisfaction of personal achievement,” Gehl said. “I run because it brings clean water and ultimately life.”

The full and half marathon will start and end its course in Carson Park. Participants will go directly through campus, starting at Roosevelt Avenue, running straight through the campus mall and going underneath the library. Runners will then cross over the footbridge to Water Street, ending the campus portion of the race.

Roosevelt Avenue will be turned into “Blugold Boulevard,” which will be packed with BMB members, along with a huge representation from the athletic department; including the dance and cheer team, all interacting with the runners.

Nathan Schaffer, student, is considered to be the liaison between the marathon and the university. Working on trying to get as many organizations and athletics involved, his job is to facilitate the event on campus.

Because the race goes directly across campus, Schaffer said having student organizations come and interact with the runners will bring the race a favorable reputation.

“These organizations will help let the creativity come to life when it comes to cheering on for the runners,” Schaffer said. “The organizations are coming together to support the participants, unifying everything that the campus represents.”

Currently there are over 60 organizations committed, and about 25 decisions still pending.

Schaffer and Eau Claire Marathon Director Pat Toutant, want the vision of the half and full marathon to be promoting a healthy culture on campus.

“Students are getting involved by running or supporting those runners,” Schaffer said. “People will be impacted far beyond the actual race.”

Schaffer said  he believes those involved will gain long term health, diet and overall lifestyle benefits, all while having a entertaining and unique experience.

He believes this will be a massive event that involves the entire campus.

“What else do we do on campus where there are this many people involved?” he said. “This is going to be the biggest thing that will happen directly on the grounds campus.”