A group of first year students at Illinois College have completed a marathon to benefit St. Jude’s Hospital.
The marathon, which took place in Memphis, Tennessee on December 5th, was the final exam for pair of first-year seminar classes that students at Illinois College is required to complete.
Beth Capo, professor of English, and Jeremy Turner, associate professor of psychology, taught and trained the 15 students during the fall semester.
Turner’s class introduced students to motivational psychology, necessary exercise science, health psychology and behavioral tools to complete the 26.2 mile marathon.
Capo’s course explored the phenomenon of running a marathon and the cultural meaning behind it.
Turner says it was a mental and physical challenge for the students, due to the fact that they were training on top of their busy academic schedules.
“They started in the summer getting their bodies ready. Every week during the semester we had lectures, discussion and writing assignments. We are using the marathon as a metaphor for life, by teaching students to set big goals and then do what it takes to achieve those goals.”
Of the 15 students who took the class, 14 completed the full marathon and one student finished a half-marathon.
Stephanie Hedgespeth of Peoria says the marathon seminar was a “truly unique experience” to take part in.
“A lot of the other freshman seminars involve going to a concert or reading a book. We actually traveled to Memphis and completed a marathon. That isn’t something a lot of 18 or 19 year old freshman can say. Having that experience of marking out your time for the runs and what you eat and the sleep amount you get is a difficult process, but worth it. It is an incredible feeling knowing that I completed a marathon and had my entire class and teachers supporting me along the way.”
Bailee Bauman of Fairview added that being able to run for the children of St. Jude’s Hospital is something she will never forget.
“We were able to engage with the community and the St. Jude organization to raise money. Most students don’t get to do that and don’t even think about. We were able to raise almost $5,000.”
According to information from Illinois College, only 35 of the 2,512 marathon finishers were in the 16-19 age group.
First-year students who trained for the marathon include Bailee Bauman of Fairview, Sarah Christian of Jacksonville, Stephanie Hedgespeth of Peoria, Danielle Henderson of Carthage, Allison Hewitt of Jacksonville, Emily Jones of Brighton, Ryleigh Keith of Brimfield, Emilee Kesler of Petersburg, Alec Pilarte of Jacksonville, Payton Reed of Cuba, Rachel Sefah of Chicago, Brooke Trotter of Bloomington, Beatrice Tuda of Elmwood Park, Hannah Turner of Jacksonville and Jamie Watson of Lewistown. T.J. Devine, assistant professor of economics, also trained and ran the marathon.