This past Sunday in Hollywood, California at the 87th Annual Academy Awards, Oscar celebrated some of the best recent performances show business. In Kappa Delta sorority’s preparation for this past Saturday’s 22nd Annual Shamrock ‘N Run 5K on Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street and UNC’s campus roadways, this past week was more about “snow business.”
In days leading up to the race, the arctic vortex and its single-digit temperatures had conspired to make ridding the race course of last Tuesday’s snow and ice a challenge, and 20-degree conditions at race time were no help.
As the saying goes from California to Carolina though, “the show must go on,” and the ladies of UNC’s Beta Chi KD chapter were up to the task, taking to the slippery sections of roads and sidewalks—sometimes with shovels-in-hand. On this local stage, however, it wasn’t about the audience; it was about charity: Durham Center for Child and Family Health and Prevent Child Abuse America.
This past week’s snow and sleet did have a slight impact on the event however, said KD’s Mary Claire Evans, who co-chaired this year’s race with Claire Morrison, Rese Chorpening, and Elizabeth Key.
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“We did have to change a little bit of the course at the last minute because there was a street on the race course through the Gimghoul neighborhood with a little too much ice,” Evans explained. “Two of our Shamrock chairs were shoveling it all day, but after we saw that that wasn’t working, we decided to change the route slightly along the Gimghoul route. We sent a message to warn all of the runners the night before.”
Originally run on the weekend closest to St. Patrick’s Day in March, the race was rescheduled earlier in the season in recent years due to a conflict with UNC students’ spring break plans.
“It’s a little earlier now,” Evans said. “Students’ spring break is March 8 through March 14, and since a lot of runners are students, so we moved it up a little bit.”
“We added a Fun Run for kids this year, because our charities are all for the kids,” Evans added. “It was originally a one-mile Fun Run, but because of the weather, we changed it to a 50-yard dash.”
Evans said that they chapter also added a National Anthem to the event, which was performed by Samaa, a South Asian Fusion A Capella Group at UNC.
“We’d actually met them in the gym and heard them,” Evans said, “so we asked if they’d be interested in singing, and they all ran the race too.”
After the anthem, the best runners remained on their feet over the next 3.1 miles, navigating precarious turns and skating their way to victory.
Mike (Daniel) Peters (16:37.70) claimed the top prize in impressive fashion, with Derek Pamukoff (16:49.50) of Chapel Hill in second, and Eric Royer (17:08.30) rounding out the top three places.
“It was a little frosty,” Peters said, “and it was a little slick on a couple turns, like the one coming down toward the end.”
Among the women, it was Alyssa Vassallo (19:02.40) claiming gold, with Christina Goudreau (20:24.70) earning silver, and illustrious Carrboro High School alum Alexa Phillips (20:28.50) taking bronze.
While top finishers may have relied on talent, training, and a good deal of balance to achieve their standing, others used whatever tools they had at their disposal.
“I thought the course was pretty good,” said Erika Scott of Toronto, Canada, who was visiting a friend on campus. “There were a few slippery spots, and there were some good hills in there.” Scott admitted that outdoor training she did near Toronto—if any—would as likely be in similar conditions.
“It’s sometimes minus 30 Celsius (22 degrees, F),” she said, “so I don’t train outside much.”
The runner who was perhaps most aptly dressed and prepared for the elements was Luna, a young Siberian Huskie straining at the leash held by runner Andy Bryant.
“She’s about a year-and-a-half old,” Bryan said of his running partner, one of a breed famously used as sled dogs. “She’s just a natural puller. She made it fun, even though she tried to trip me a few times.”
True winners on the day may have been the event’s designated charities, however.
Last year, the Beta Chi (UNC) chapter of Kappa Delta raised over $30,000 in monetary and $40,000 in in-kind donations for the prevention of child abuse.
“It’s a very special event,” Evans said, “and everyone gets very excited about it. Also, our charities have become much more integrated into our reasons for (raising money). They’ve come to (our) chapter, and all of the co-chairpersons have gone and visited the Durham Center for Child and Family Health and seen how they care for children. With all of that, it’s become an even more exciting event.”
While Peters intimated that dinner with friends would follow his cold victory lap, he had bigger plans for coming months.
“I am running the Boston Marathon in April,” he said.
Evans said more charity was in store for her chapter: “We’re going to have a cookout to knock out ALS, and the date for that will be on our website soon (http://unc.kappadelta.org/).
And if that’s not guaranteed to warm the weather up a bit, it’s certainly enough to warm the hearts.