The Campus School Volunteers of Boston College (CSVBC) have a long tradition of running in the Boston Marathon as bandits, or unregistered runners, to raise funds for the Campus School. This year, their plans have changed. Instead of running in the marathon as usual, the Campus School will be hosting its own, separate marathon on Sunday, April 13, the week before the big race.
“The Boston Marathon is probably the most inclusive marathon, historically, when it comes to bandit runners,” said Sean Schofield, volunteer coordinator for the Campus School. “It’s part of our culture … they always realized that we had a team and always turned a blind eye because they knew we were running for a good cause.”
As a result of last year’s bombing, however, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) has tightened security measures and stated that it will crack down on bandit runners in this year’s marathon.
While many charities sign up for special status with the BAA to receive registered numbers for runners who do not have a fast enough time to qualify for the race, Schofield said that this was not an option for the CSVBC team.
“We’ve applied for that, but that only gives you 15 numbers … and for each one of those numbers you have to raise at least $5,000,” Schofield said. “That’s out of the reach of most University students for fundraising.”
Instead, the Campus School will stage its own marathon in the same way it conducts its usual Sunday morning training runs.
While there will be no police detail on the course and streets will not be shut down, Schofield and the officers are confident that the run will be conducted in a safe manner.
“We already do a 21-mile run, and in the grand scheme of things this isn’t really that much different … it’s never been an issue in our 21-mile runs,” said Brianne Shannon, treasurer and CSOM ’14.
Runners will not be completely on their own, however: the Campus School will provide water stations along the way as well as other on-course support.
“We always have vans going up and down the course,” said Max Jackson, co-vice president and A&S ’14.
In an email sent to prospective Campus School marathon runners last night, CSVBC confirmed that the run will cover the same route as the official Boston Marathon, ending at the painted finish line on Boylston St. near Copley Square.
Schofield said that the Campus School’s marathon was meant to be an informal end to the work its runners have been putting in since the beginning of the year.
“We want it to be big, we want it to be fun-but also, it’s casual,” Schofield said.
While runners provide the Campus School with fundraising, he said, it only seemed fair to give them some opportunity to see their training to completion.
“For a lot of people, running the marathon or running by BC is one of your top one to three moments as a BC student,” said Jackson, who ran the marathon last year. “Trying to preserve that is very important to us.”
To this end, CSVBC will be campaigning for students who are not planning to run the marathon to come out and support their classmates and replicate the Marathon Monday experience for those runners as much as possible.
Another concern is that many runners who originally planned to run the Boston Marathon will not run at all this year.
“We anticipate that we’re going to lose a lot, but we’re hoping for those folks who’ve come too far to back out now, we want to make sure we’ll be there for them,” Schofield said.
When the announcement to run a separate marathon went out, 350 people were on the Campus School marathon team’s listserv.
“Even if we lose people, I feel like the ones left are going to be so dedicated and really care, that we’re just going to have a stronger team,” said Paige Marino, secretary and A&S ’15.
Despite this possibility, CSVBC is still committed to making the most of the situation.
“It’s a very different year,” said Chelsea Beyrand, co-president and LSOE ’14. “The bottom line here is that we’re respecting what the BAA, what the Boston police, what the city of Boston want us to do. We all want to support the city, and this year our way of supporting them is to run a weekend earlier and then being on the sidelines.”