On April 25, the high school’s cross country team planned and executed a “virtual runathon” to fundraise for the front line workers of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cross country team far surpassed their goal of $2,000, raising $20,000 and donating many meals from local businesses such as Comella’s to the much needed front line workers at hospitals like Newton Wellesley Hospital, Mass General Hospital, and the Boston Medical Center,
After receiving a text from his coach, Jason Norris ’20 wondered how far he could really run; this gave him the idea of a virtual runathon.
“My Coach, Colin Corkery, who is 62 year old, texted me saying he had run 17 miles earlier that day, which made me start thinking about how far I could run,” said Norris.
After fellow team captain Jason Norris ’20 contacted Robbie Lynch ’20 with the idea of the virtual marathon, the group of captains organized aspects of the fundraiser over FaceTime.
“We made a sign-up sheet for sponsors, a GoFundMe account for the raising of funds, and contacted current and past members of the cross country team to encourage them to participate,” said Lynch.
Lynch and the captains decided that there should be different ways that people could donate during the fundraiser so people did not have to sponsor one specific runner and could instead donate to the cause as a whole. Lynch was very surprised that all of the planning and organizing the donations took place in the short span of a week.
“The craziest part of all was that from the day that Jason Norris had the initial idea for the runathon to the day that we ran, it had only been a week. We had raised $20,000 in one week, which was ten times our original goal of $2,000,” said Lynch.
Zach Barry ’20 felt like the donations motivated the runners to go as far as they could in order to raise the most money possible.
“Put simply, the idea of the runathon is to raise money from per mile or fixed donations. These donations encouraged us to go as long as we could on this run. I know that many individuals on the team ran more than ten miles, with the highest being fifteen,” said Barry.
Lynch points out how this fundraiser was unique among his previous fundraising experiences because of the current pandemic as well as the speed of the preparation.
“Within the week we gave ourselves to organize the event, everyone on the team learned about the event, found sponsors, and ran, and all the donors donated. The circumstances are also unique to our fundraiser, because due to the ongoing pandemic, there is a real need for food to feed the thousands of frontline workers who are putting their own lives on the lines to save the lives of others, and we wanted to find a way to support them,” said Lynch.
The money raised by the fundraiser provided meals to health care workers.
“One of the issues right now is that there are so many people currently in hospitals who need more of their staff to be in the building at one time. Because of this, there is less food available for these doctors and nurses to eat, so they are essentially having to work long hours and find food elsewhere. We were able to provide some meals to these employees,” said Lynch.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the seniors on the team have lost their final outdoor track season. Organizing this fundraiser was really important to many seniors as it gave them one last chance to participate in the community as a part of the track team.
“The easiest and most memorable aspect of the fundraiser was running and doing what we do best as a cross country team, but also voyaging through all of the streets and paths of Wellesley — some of our favorite routes including the Brook Path, Sketch bridge, Elm Bank, and Donkey — knowing that this would be the final time I would represent Wellesley in a race-like atmosphere. It was an emotional experience and one I will never forget,” said Barry.
This fundraiser taught the track team how impactful they could be by simply doing what they are passionate about and thinking outside of the box about how to help people in need.
“Something I’ll take away from this experience is how much of a difference we can all make. It’s humbling to think about the thousands of people who are putting their lives on the line every day to help others, and it felt awesome to be able to support them,” said Lynch.