Loyola Phoenix

Runner Race for Charity with Hindu Students’ Organization

Nearly 40 runners woke early and made their way to Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus (LSC) for the Hindu Students’ Organization’s (HSO) second annual Rambler Run 5K March 24.

Participants and volunteers gathered at the LSC starting at 8 a.m. to pick up breakfast and a T-shirt for the event. Most runners were members of the Loyola community — in addition to some Chicago residents.

The race started at 9:20 a.m. along the lakefront trail. Runners ran from West Ardmore Avenue to West Lawrence Avenue and then turned back around.

Proceeds from the $20 participation fee went to the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI) — an organization that conducts research to create equitable policies for South Asian Americans.

The 5K raised $780 from fees, according to HSO philanthropy chair Charishma Doddamareddy.

HSO contributes to a different charity each year while also holding fundraising events. Doddamareddy planned the event, and she said the 5K was held to spread awareness of Hinduism to more people.

“HSO aims to be as inclusive as we can, and we wanted an event where everyone felt open to walk or run or take part in, and that’s why we picked a 5K,” the 19-year-old said.

HSO is also behind on-campus events, such as the dance performance, Garba, and the festivals Diwali Dinner and Holi.

After the race, runners met back in the Quinlan Life Sciences Building for lunch and a ceremony with prizes. The top-three finishers were Gregory Grigoropoulos, Uriel Reyes and Maggie Thompson.

Grigoropoulos, 22, finished first with a time of 17 minutes and 34 seconds. The Loyola senior said he was excited for the opportunity to race.

“I love running,” the exercise physiology major said. “I love being active. I also like being an active member in a lot of school clubs. When I saw this, I wanted to go out there and get it.”

Thompson, 21, finished in 19 minutes and 33 seconds. Thompson said she wanted to support her friends in HSO and said she liked the charitable element.

“I think it’s nice that 100 percent of their proceeds are going towards [SAAPRI],” the international studies and political science double major said. “It’s cool [and] it makes it more worthwhile.”

Reyes, 19, finished in 19 minutes and 12 seconds. He said he was on the cross country team in high school and wanted to stay active.

“I wanted to test myself [to] see if I could run a good race [and] run a good time like I used to,” the first-year English major said. “It’s nice knowing I still got something in me — like it’s not all gone even though I’m not training with my cross country team anymore.”

Doddamareddy said she was happy with the turnout.

“It feels like a dream come true,” the bioinformatics major said. “Last year we had some delays from the rain … and we had a very low turnout. To see 37 runners come out today … was amazing … It was everything I could [have] hoped and could have dreamed of. It went better than I imagined.”

Doddamareddy said HSO plans to continue hosting the annual 5K.

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