UW-Eau Claire students motivate runners in Eau Claire Marathon

Blugold Mile provides support in last three miles in the race’s 10th year

Macey VanDenMeerendonk

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Students cheer on runners in the 2018 Eau Claire Marathon running through the Blugold Mile.

Students involved in campus organizations and community members lined the sidewalks and roads of campus to cheer on runners participating in the 2018 Eau Claire Marathon on Sunday.

UW-Eau Claire started the Blugold Mile four years ago to have students come out and support marathon runners by cheering them on, Brooke Weiss, the Service Center manager and Blugold Mile organization advisor, said.

“Bringing students together and showing campus in a different way, it’s so many students supporting students and community members,” Weiss said. “They are out here cheering for everybody.”

The Blugold Mile is between the 23rd and 24th mile marker for the full marathon and the 10th and 11th mile marker for the half marathon.

With about 100 student organizations participating, Weiss said lower campus was filled with students ringing cowbells, waving balloons and holding signs as runners came and went.

Haley Martin, a second-year elementary and special education student with the organization Aspiring Educators, said she liked being able to see all the organizations in one place working together to “hype runners up.”

“I think it’s cool that all the organizations are together,” Martin said. “It gets like one loud cheer fest and there’s a lot of energy.”

Weiss said the idea was created by a student, after which point it began to grow.

Alexis Watt, a junior elementary education student with the club volleyball team, said she likes the positive impact the collective cheering for the runners has.

“I really like the energy that we give the runners,” Watt said. “You can kind of tell that when they start running through they look really tired and by the end they look like they are energized for the last couple miles.”

Weiss said the campus has a distance running class comprising about 100 students who train throughout the spring semester for the full and half marathon. She said many students run the marathon independently as well.

Allison Murphy, a second-year English education student with the organization Aspiring Educators, said her favorite part was seeing familiar faces in the race and being able to support them towards the end of it.

“My favorite part is seeing all the people that you know go through and getting excited seeing you because this is the long stretch,” Murphy said.

Runners ran past Schneider Hall and Centennial Hall. From there, they ran down Garfield Avenue past Zorn Arena and Hibbard Hall before making their way to Water Street.

The Blugold Mile is meant to get students involved with the community in a way to show support and positivity towards the runners whether they be other students or members of the community, Weiss said. It highlights campus and the students involved in organizations to bring good to an event in our community, she said.

Martin said she likes that it is near the end of the race so they can help to give a little energy to the runners when they need it most.

“It’s cool that we are the last stretch of it,” Martin said. “If I was running it I would be dying at this point so I think it’s some positivity at the end for the runners.”