Last Sunday, a group of students from Roberto Clemente Community Academy volunteered at the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Clemente students were responsible for setting up and maintaining water stations to hydrate the long-distance runners. Positioned at mile 15 on Ogden Avenue, Clemente’s aid station was just past the halfway point in the 26.2 mile race. With nearly 45,000 runners scheduled to run through, Clemente students had high expectations.
“It was really impressive,” said junior David Garcia. “The best part was seeing all of the runners get motivated by all of us telling them ‘good run’ and giving them water.”
The students split time between handing water to passing runners and refilling the ubiquitous marathon cups behind the tables. Many, like junior Kristen Gomez, cheered encouragement to runners as they raced by. The first to cross through mile 15 were the wheelchair and handcycle participants, followed shortly after by the elite runners (including eventual winners Dennis Kimetto and Rita Jeptoo). Students manned the stations from 5:30 AM until the cutoff truck crossed through at 1:00 PM.
“I’d love to do it again,” said senior Michael Cantre. “It was a really great experience.”