Columbia University and Manhattan College are the first two schools to participate in the inaugural ING New York City Marathon College Charity Program, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.
In the initiative, which is expected to raise about $10,000 for each school, race participants will raise funds to benefit the schools’ programs in track and field and cross country. Each school has received five entries to the Marathon, available to anyone who is interested in running on behalf of the schools’ running programs.
“We are ecstatic to introduce our college running program this year,” said Wittenberg. “We raise millions of dollars a year for hundreds of charities; we are thrilled to now begin raising greater awareness and funds for our local college running programs.”
Although the college charity program is launching with two local schools, it is expected to grow into a nationwide endeavor in which about 10 schools will apply for a limited number of entries.
The latest additions bring the number of ING New York City Marathon gold, silver, bronze, and community charity partners to more than 300, with more than two-thirds of them New York City–based. Taken together, the charity partners aim to raise $35 million in the November 4 race.
Two other new charity partners this year of particular interest are the well-known Arthur Ashe Foundation and the new Mobile Kitchen Classroom, a nonprofit organization founded by actor-filmmaker Adrian Grenier (Entourage) that seeks to teach New York City high school students about essential life skills and encourage participants to consider how their food choices relate to the broader issues of personal, social, and environmental health. The Mobile Kitchen Classroom will travel throughout all five boroughs to teach students how to prepare simple, delicious, and healthy meals.
The two local schools kicking off the college program have both known some success in their Division 1 programs. Manhattan College has won more than 50 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championships in the 80-plus years of its program, and its alumni include 2000 NCAA champion Aliann Pompey, a four-time Olympian for her native Guyana, and eight-time All-American Jake Freeman, the 2010 U.S. champion in the hammer throw.
“The Manhattan College cross country and track and field program is excited about this opportunity to work with NYRR and one of the greatest sporting events in the world,” said Dan Mecca, the head coach.
As for Columbia University, 2012 has seen two former Lions compete in the London Olympic Games and a senior break the American collegiate record for 1500 meters: Lisa Stublic competed for Croatia in the Olympic Marathon; Erison Hurtault was the flag bearer for Dominica, which he represented at 400 meters; and Kyle Merber became the fastest U.S. collegian in history at 1500 meters when he ran 3:35.59 before winning the gold medal last month at the NACAC (North American, Central American, and Caribbean) Under-23 Championships.
“We are thrilled to be joining in a partnership with NYRR and the running community of New York City,” said Willy Wood, director of cross country and track and field at Columbia University. “There has been an increasingly greater desire for us to connect our running programs with the City of New York, and I believe this to be a great first step.”
For the full press release, click here.