Undergrads join Julia’s Run

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Photo by Kathryn Crandall.

When a swarm of runners set out from Cross Campus on Sunday morning, they were not just looking for a workout.

This weekend, 257 adults and 47 kids runners participated in Julia’s Run — a charity event in memory of Julia Rusinek ’00. Rusinek, who was a student in Jonathan Edwards College, died between her junior and senior year at Yale due to a sudden heart condition. Though roughly the same number of runners participated in the race last year, this year’s event saw a high level of undergraduate participation. As Helen Fang ’15 was one of only two Yale undergraduates participating in the run last year, she decided to organize a group from JE this year, which included 30 students and administrators from the residential college.

“I thought it would be nice to get a JE contingent together in memory of one of our own,” Fang said. “Hopefully this becomes a yearly tradition and more undergrads run it.”

Fang said the JE group included Master Penelope Laurans, who cheered on the runners, and Dean Joseph Spooner.

Laurans said in an email that the run was an “act of community,” involving members of the JE community coming together to remember and pay tribute to a former JE student.

“It was also just plain fun to be together and run for a good cause,” she said. “It made everyone involved feel closer to JE and to one another.”

Fang said she got the word out about the race through a residential college-wide email. Though the undergraduates paid for their own registration for the event, the JE College Council helped pay for their T-shirts.

Sam Nemiroff ’16, a JE student who ran in the race this year, said he appreciated the good weather and the opportunity to “run alongside fellow JE students for a great cause.”

Alec Downie ’16, another runner in JE, said he was surprised by how well attended and well organized the race was.

“It was a good course — challenging in parts, but not too stressful,” he said.

Though Downie said he was pleased with his time in the race, he added that he would like to do the race again next year to try to improve his time.

Rusinek’s family and friends founded Julia’s Run in 2000, a year after Rusinek passed away. All proceeds from the race go to LEAP (Leadership, Education, Athletics in Partnership), which is an academic and social enrichment program for children and youth from neighborhoods with high poverty rates in New Haven.

Andrew Krause ’00, a classmate of Rusinek, said in an email to Fang that the race began as a “family affair,” in which every participant had a direct connection to Rusinek. Over time, the event evolved into an “annual stop for runners on the local road race circuit,” he said.

Still, Rusinek’s friends and family have continued to participate enthusiastically in the run each year, Fang said.

While the main race was four miles long, kids ages 12 and under could participate in a “Fun Run.” The race was followed by an awards ceremony with refreshments and a raffle.

Matthew Lloyd-Thomas contributed reporting.

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