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LA Marathon team goes the distance for The Student Imperative

Spring-Summer 2015

Despite high temperatures, CMC’s group puts in an impressive effort at this year’s LA Marathon


There’s an old motivational saying that goes: It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.

When you run the LA Marathon during record-setting temperatures, though, that old saying quickly changes from “where you finish” to “if you finish.”

More than 22,000 people raced the 26.2-mile course from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica on March 15 – the third day of a record-breaking heat wave with temperatures 20 degrees higher than average across the region.

And among that massive throng of athletes were several CMC students and alumni, parents and President Hiram E. Chodosh.

In addition to personal goals – for some, running under four hours; for others just finishing the course – the race entrants from CMC led by seniors Ben Tillotson ’15 and Rita Gilles ’15, ran to benefit a bigger cause. They ran to raise money for financial aid and scholarships as a part of The Student Imperative, the college's initiative to add $100 million to the endowment in order to meet 100 percent of each student’s needs once admitted.

“I’m running because I care so much about financial aid and scholarships at CMC,” Gilles added. “I think most students do and we saw this as a way to fight for what we believe in and try and make CMC more accessible to other students.”

In addition to runners from the college, CMC was out in force with tents and a cheering section strategically placed around mile 22.

President Chodosh, a 1991 veteran of the New York City Marathon, also appreciated that late-race boost from CMCers. “The CMCer’s looked fantastic,” he said. “I saw them out there. We ran into each other quite frequently and there was a big group assembled just after mile 22, which was exciting.”

A personal best was set by first-time marathoner Tillotson. With a time of 3:1:16, he qualified to run in the Boston Marathon, which takes place in his hometown: “I’m from Boston and to be eligible to run in my age group, I had to run under 3:3:30.”

Other runners included Mark Segal ’86 and daughter Talia ’15 who ran because “my experience at CMC is one of the best things I could ever have asked for. I feel every student deserves a chance to go here.”

For Jessie Capper ’17, “doing a full marathon was something I wanted to cross off the bucket list.”

Just before the race, in the pre-dawn halflight, Josh Walter ’01, who is the college's director of leadership giving, admitted to some jitters. “What’s going on in my mind is massive confusion and wondering exactly how I got myself here right now!”

Walter predicted his biggest problem would occur around mile 17, “where you’re far into it but you still have 10-ish to go! But we’ll make it, we’ll push through”— which is exactly what everybody did!

Johnson writes and blogs for various publications, including People Magazine and