“Sweaty, tired, and sore, but most importantly, proud,” is how Emma Greer, 21, a senior early childhood education major, from Winter Park, FL, described feeling after completing her first Half Marathon, as she analyzed her new, shiny medal hanging around her neck. On Sunday, October 22, on a chilly morning in Athens, Georgia, AthFest Educates hosted its 8th Annual AthHalf Marathon. AthFest Educates is a nonprofit organization, focused on raising money to support music and arts education for K-8 youth in Athens-Clarke County.
After the event, Greer, who teaches at Chase Street Elementary, talked about what it meant for her to run in this event and support the younger students of this community that she gets to work with on a daily basis. Greer said, “At first my motivation for running the AthHalf was I just felt it was one of things you had to check off your list before you graduated from UGA. Once I found out that AthHalf raised money for education though, it made me want to run this event rather than another half.”
Greer still did not think the event did enough to let people know what they were supporting, saying, “I felt the event was very well organized and had great energy! All the volunteers were super helpful, but I don’t think the event did a great job advertising what they were raising money for. I feel the only reason I knew what the event was raising money for was because I work in Clarke County.”
Not all hope is lost though, as AthFest Educates announced $28,802 total grants will be going to provide high-quality music and arts educations for these students. 2/3 of the money will put towards music and arts programs and experiences for young people, while the other 1/3 will go towards instruments and equipment.
This event has a lot to look forward to moving forward. With many supporters like the UGA gymnastics and Women’s basketball teams and businesses such as YourPie and Terrapin, one of the main sponsors who actually provided of age participants with one of their signature Hi-5 IPA’s upon finishing the race, this event will continue to grow each year.
One of the most contagious ways for news to travel nowadays though is through hashtags. Although AthHalf has it’s own instagram account that was used frequently leading up to the event and during to promote sponsors, volunteer opportunities, AthFest Educates, the winners and many other things, #Athhalf may have even generated even more buzz, with over 2,400 posts.
In the end, all 1,680 runners who participated in this wonderful event were able to benefit child education in this city. As Greer proudly said, “It’s so great to see the community rallied around our students. Events such as Athhalf are important not just for fundraising purposes but it raises awareness and also creates a community that supports our students and shows them how valuable education is.”