Two members of the OBU staff have decided not only to run the upcoming Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on April 28, but also to share the adventure with a couple hundred of their closest Bison friends.
Holly Hays and Monica Mullins have issued a challenge to OBU employees, students, alumni and community supporters to train and participate in the 13th annual run.
"From past experience of other OBU'ers, we realized there was a good number of OBU-related people who ran or participated through encouraging others, and we wanted them to be easily identified," said Hays, who serves as resident director of WMU Dormitory and assistant director of student activities at OBU.
"This is my first race, ever," Hays said. "I am part of a relay team with other OBU staff and alumni. In recent years, I have considered doing a race, but was somewhat intimidated. Knowing that my friends and other OBU-related people will be alongside me has given me extra motivation to be a part of this cool event."
In addition to building a support group for marathon participants, Hays noted the effort promotes wellness among the OBU community and encourages support of a meaningful local charity.
"This is a great way to be physically active as well as active in local and statewide events," she said.
Hays and Mullins, director of student success at OBU, began their collaborative effort with the idea of getting all OBU-related participants to wear matching shirts. As word of the idea spread, additional people in the OBU community have decided to participate as runners or encouragers knowing they will be alongside their fellow Bison.
The OBU marathon group is connected through a Facebook page called Bison @ The OKC Memorial Marathon. Interested runners, walkers, relayers, half and full participants, and all other faithful cheerleaders and supporters are invited to join the group. Hays and Mullins hope to host a pre-race party on OBU's Shawnee campus for group participants to meet one another prior to the marathon. Special Bison shirts are available for purchase for OBU-related participants through Feb. 1 via the Facebook page.
The OKC Memorial Marathon was conceptualized by Thomas Hill and Chet Collier, two Oklahoma businessmen who, while on a morning run, created the outline for this inspiring event. Twenty-four volunteer chairmen lead a volunteer corps of more than 6,000 to carry out the full weekend of events. From its inaugural race in 2001 with just shy of 5,000 participants, the event recently hosted nearly 25,000 runners and walkers from 49 states and six foreign countries. The mission of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is to celebrate life, reach for the future, honor the memories of those who were killed and unite the world in hope.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is the sole beneficiary of Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon event proceeds. The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon has contributed more than $3 million to the Memorial since its inception.