This year’s Bearathon marks the 12th year of the half-marathon and 5K presented by Student Foundation.
The half-marathon on March 22 will continue its legacy of being one of the toughest half-marathons in Texas, but will also welcome some changes and celebrate the life of Daniel Jones, the student who died while running the race last year.
Student Foundation reports it is on pace to meet its goal of raising $110,000 through the event that will boast roughly 2,600 participants. The event is the main fundraising effort of Student Foundation, which will disperse the funds in the form of scholarships to Baylor students.
Fort Worth senior Sydney Shields said Student Foundation and Jones’ fraternity brothers in Kappa Omega Tau plan on using the Bearathon as a memorial and celebration of Jones’ life and the impact he had on the Baylor community.
“We are in the process of planning a silent mile between miles one and two where people who did and even people who did not know Daniel will be able to have a time of reflection to remember and celebrate his life,” Shields said.
Last year, Jones collapsed near the finish line. He was treated on scene and then transported to a Waco hospital where he later died. Jones was involved on campus in Greek Life and was a former Student Foundation member.
Student Foundation is also working to have finishing tape draped across the finish line, which will be customized with Jones’ name to honor his life. The Bearathon winner will then be able to dedicate their win to the memory of Jones.
Another change taking place this year will be the Bearathon’s presentation of the half-marathon and 5k as different courses. Shields said they altered the course because of construction in Cameron Park and worked with U.S. Track and Field to ensure the new course was certified. This entails a having an official measurement of the course taken to ensure it is exactly 13.1 miles. This year’s course will be different but nonetheless challenging with the notorious Cameron Park hills still being part of the scenic run.
“Instead of having three big hills, now there is only one big hill and roughly five or six small hills,” Shields said. “The course is definitely different but should be just as challenging for runners.”
Going green has been a goal of the race in years past, but this year Arkansas senior Haley Hamlin said the goal of the Bearathon is to be a race that is environmentally conscious yet still allows runners who are trained to race or hydrate a certain way not to be hindered by their sustainability efforts.
“We will still have some cups for those that prefer the traditional method; however, we are implementing a technology called HydraPour High-Speed Dispensers and HydraPouches that will allow for runners to quickly fill the bottles or containers that they bring to use in the race,” Hamlin said.
The mission of Baylor Student Foundation is to be an organization that exists to build leaders, recruit new members, raise scholarship funds, and strengthen bonds and benevolence among alumni and students.