Boston runners to participate in Marathon of the North

Two runners from the Boston Marathon are in Sunderland this weekend to take part in the Marathon of the North.

Craig Smith of the Heaton Harriers will be volunteering on the course, while Ean Parsons of Sedgefield Harriers will be running in the marathon.

Smith was in the medical tent during the bombing at the Boston Marathon and didn’t hear the two explosions because he was about a half mile away.

“I was quite oblivious of what was going on at first,” Smith said.

He first became aware that something was going on when he heard the sound of sirens and thought that it was hotter than he had originally thought it was and that they were having to bring in more people.

He didn’t find out about the explosions until the medical staff told him that they had to evacuate the area because there had been a major security incident.

“I managed to find my bag and then find my way back to my digs. So it was a very strange afternoon.”

Parsons was just leaving the family reunion area about 50 minutes after he crossed the finish line when he heard the two explosions two seconds apart.

“It crosses your mind that that’s what it is, obviously something traumatic had happened. You’re hoping it’s not going to be a bomb, but obviously the word got around quickly,” Parsons said.

Parsons knew  that people were asking how the bombings would affect London and other marathons but believes that they must continue.

“We thought, this is what we do, you can’t stop people running marathons.”

Smith ran in the London Marathon after a little friendly pressure from his friends. He had an entry into the race, but never intended to run.

“The realisation that to let it go would be a sacrilege and so what I did was said I’m going to do it, it’s going to hurt, but I want to do it,” added Smith.

The Heaton Harrier wanted to raise awareness for Boston and try to raise money for the victims to “draw something positive out of a very black situation.”

And his experience in London was cathartic as he ran with a fellow runner who had been in Boston and said it helped both of them.

Smith will be volunteering on Sunday for the Marathon of the North as he believes doing three marathons in three weekends would be a bit over the top and this is another way he can give something back to the community as ‘people often take for granted all the marshals and volunteers’.

Parsons didn’t run in the London marathon because he had booked a holiday around Boston and was in Toronto at the time of the marathon.

However, he said he heard reports on how moving the atmosphere was during the minute silence and is expecting the North East running community will come together in a similar kind of atmosphere this weekend.

Parsons said: “I think, for my own point of view, because I was away after Boston, I’ll find it even more poignant to be amongst the crowd and remembering what happened on that day.”

The Marathon of the North will start at 9:30 at the Stadium of Light on Sunday and will also include a half marathon, 10k race and a relay race.



Pie Your Professor to Raise Scholarship for Students

Ever thought you could pie a professor for a good cause?

The Class Campaign for The University of Tampa is sponsoring the event Pie-A-Professor to take place during the homecoming tailgate on Friday Oct. 23 at 5:30 p.m.

During homecoming week, representatives from The Class Campaign will be selling raffle tickets in the Vaughn Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting Oct 19.

Raffles will cost $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets.

Money raised from the event will go toward funding a scholarship.

Students will also be eligible to receive one free ticket by writing a thank-you card to various alumni who have donated to UT.

According to Laura Mayes, chair of The Class Campaign, each faculty member will have their names written on a jar and students will be able to choose which jars to put their tickets in.

The five jars with the most tickets in them will be selected, and the faculty whose names are on them will participate.

A raffle will be picked randomly from each of the five jars, and each of the students holding the chosen raffles will pie the faculty.

Mayes said she got the idea for the event from Delta Zeta’s theme week.

“I wanted a fun way for students and faculty to come together to bridge the gap,” Mayes said.

“A lot of people don’t know that faculty donates [money to the school].” She said that 65 percent of the faculty donates money every year.

The Class Campaign aims to educate students about giving back.

Since UT is a private university, it gets all its money from donors.

None of it comes from the government.

The scholarship money that will be raised during this event will go to a deserving student, though Mayes said she doesn’t know yet how it will be awarded.

Once the money is raised, She and 15 committee members of The Class Campaign will sit down and decide what criteria will be set.

“It really is from the student body,” Mayes said.

The Class Campaign used to be titled the “Senior Campaign.”

The name change was to open the organization up to the rest of the student body.

According to Mayes, they all work together to spread awareness.

The Class Campaign is asking this year’s graduating seniors to donate $20.10 to show their appreciation for the time that they’ve been at UT.

Mayes said The Class Campaign is working on getting approved by Student Government to be an active organization on campus.

She also said there will be another event on campus in the spring that has yet to be determined.

Posted October 15 2009 at 12:24 am

The Minaret:

Giving UT a Voice on Diversity, Faculty Speaks Up

On Nov. 7, a St. Petersburg Times column about the lack of tenured African American professors at the University of Tampa made waves on campus, received attention online and prompted a response from school officials on UT’s homepage.

The column, “At UT, Never a Tenured African-American,” by Bill Maxwell, explains that the university has never had a tenured African-American professor.

George Botjer, a UT professor who has taught at the university for 48 years, brought that fact to Maxwell’s attention.

The story surrounding it was rooted in what Botjer perceived to be past racism at UT, something he passionately fought particularly during the 1960s and 1970s.

In responding to the article, Janet McNew, Provost of UT, said, “For the most part, it was dealing with things that happened over 30 years ago. And it was very out of touch of the way that the university is now.”

The article goes on to say that UT has no African-Americans currently on the tenure track, an incorrect assertion.

Erica Dawson, an African-American assistant professor of English who was hired this semester, is on tenure track and was very upset with the article.

She even wrote a letter to the editor to register her complaint.

“The biggest thing about the article that upset me in general was the fact that it seemed to be implying that UT is a racist institution and in large part that the administration is making racist decisions.” Dawson said.

“When you walk around our sidewalks, it’s easy to see the diversity that we have on this campus. Not just in terms of our faculty but our staff and our students as well.”

Dawson said she does not want readers to get the wrong impression about UT.

“I was alarmed at the lack of awareness of the way that UT is now,” she said. “I felt the article was not as researched as it could have been. For me, that’s a problem when we’re talking about journalism.”

Haig Mardirosian, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, agreed.

“As someone who has worked for years on diversifying the faculty, elsewhere and recently at UT, the sting of this piece in the Times is especially sharp,” he wrote in an e-mail to faculty last week.

“It was both planted and written by people who clearly do not understand the intensity, the emotion and the urgency of the work that we all do to embrace our diversity.

Rather, these folks tossed around a few unfounded and ugly words and, at that, never stopped to check their data.”

Arthur Hollist, an African-born black professor at UT, said similarly that Maxwell “did not do his homework.”

Hollist  did not give a comment to Maxwell because he felt that “[his] characterization of me was unfortunate. I didn’t think that it warranted commenting.”

Maxwell mentioned in his article that Hollist’s “exotic, foreign provenance is preferred by many U.S. universities looking for a black face.”

He implied that Hollist, along with other minority professors from Sierra Leone or other areas outside the Western world, were hired for their exoticism.

According to McNew, the tenure process that UT follows is one recommended by the American Association of University Professors.

Professors hired on tenure-track have a six-year probationary period.

After three years, professors have pre-tenure reviews. At the end of six years, professors have a full tenure review.

The key points for a professor receiving tenure are successful teaching, scholar activity, a terminal degree (highest degree in a given field) and involvement in student life or activities.

According to McNew, there are 129 tenured professors at UT.

The university declined to release a breakdown of those who are black, Hispanic, Asian or white to protect their identities.

In the column, Maxwell also mentioned Kendra Frorup, another black tenure-track professor from the Bahamas.

He did not mention the African-American assistant professor Lonnie Bryant, also on tenure track.

“I felt the distinction he was trying to make between African-born and African-American was sort of old school,” Hollist said.

“It was a distinction I didn’t really understand.”

Hollist has been with UT for 22 years. In that time, he has seen improvement in diversity.

“UT is moving in the right direction in terms of diversifying its faculty and students. Is there more work to be done? Yeah, absolutely,” Hollist said.

“How you attract faculty of color and different ethnicity is something that has to be researched and investigated thoroughly. If there was an easy answer, I think we would have done it.”

Donovan Myrie, an English-born black who serves as a communications instructor at UT, agreed with Hollist that improvements can be made.

As he said, “I think the reason we don’t have as many professors of color here . . . [O]ne, you don’t have a large pool of people of color on the Ph.D. level or the terminal degree level.

“Two, those candidates are usually heading towards larger cities with bigger salaries and more opportunities. And three, UT does not really search out and seek those people of color.”

Myrie does not think UT searches for those candidates, instead just accepting the ones who apply for open positions.

He believes recruiting black faculty candidates is not an easy thing to do.

“I think that’s the point that professor Botjer is trying to make,” Myrie said.

Overall though, in his words, “I don’t think that the university treats any professor differently regardless of color.

“It doesn’t matter what color you are it matters that you are a good professor.”

In an e-mail response provided to The Minaret, university president Ronald Vaughn stated, “I don’t believe the article accurately reflects the current reality of diversity at the University of Tampa.

“The university recognizes the importance of diversity on campus and in the classroom.

“We put a great deal of effort in hiring the best-qualified faculty and staff, and we have taken great strides to build an inclusive community that embraces diversity of all sorts.

“Today, UT’s diversity is apparent and is a key element in strengthening students’ total educational experience.”

Mandy Erfourth can be reached at

Posted November 17 2010 at 10:32 pm

The Minaret:

People out in force for Marathon of the North despite windy conditions

Despite the windy conditions making the course difficult, it didn’t stop runners and spectators from coming out in their thousands for the Marathon of the North on Sunday.

This year’s event was the second year for the Marathon of the North, with the BQ Relay race added and the half marathon for the first time.

Former Olympian Steve Cram, who was again one of the event organisers, has said they won’t add any more races now, but they want to keep making the events bigger.

Cram said: “Every year more and more people seem to get interested in it and hopefully we’ll be back here with a bigger event.

“The weather could have been more helpful. It’s very, very windy, which is tough for the runners, tough for the spectators and for the volunteers as well.”

The weather wasn’t all bad. Just before the marathon runners approached the finish line the sun started to peak through the clouds.

Jake Harrison from Leicester won the marathon in what was the first marathon he had ever competed in.

“I was quite surprised to be honest and I was struggling near the end,” said Harrison.

The Leicester Tri runner said it was difficult to keep pace and towards the end he was struggling, but he believes that everyone was starting to struggle near the end.

He also said he had been watching the weather over the week and didn’t expect the conditions to be so windy.

Harrison said he had a lot more energy in the first half of the marathon, but the wind took a lot out of him. The second half of the race was more sheltered and but he admitted that runners had just as much wind on their back as in their face.

“It’s quite a tough course. I liked that you have some of the half marathon runners with you for the first half, so you can sort of stay with them so you’re not running, if you are in the lead, all the race on your own,” Harrison continued.

Jessica Riches, from Chester-le-Street, 27, won the women’s marathon, earning her personal best time of three hours 20. Last year she came in third place with a time of three hours 25.

The finish was a surprise to Riches who didn’t expect to come in first as her goal was to retain her third place finish.

Riches said: “Two weeks ago I did a race that was also very windy up at Druridge Bay, which was a marathon as well, and it had sort of swirling sand storms.

“So I was just running along thinking, well at least there isn’t any sand. It was good preparation really.”

Riches said that The Marathon of the North is her favorite marathon and that the organisation is spot on.

Alyson Dixon, from Sunderland, 34, won the 10k for the second year in a row and is really happy to have retained her title.

“I just enjoyed it out there. I just ran a marathon recently so I’m still recovering from that. And I just used it as a bit of a social run to try to help some of the lads that I know to fast times,” said Dixon.

She was also wearing a blue and yellow ribbon to pay tribute to Boston and she was wearing a shirt that said “Boston stands as one.”

“I had people that I know, good friends over there running, people spectating. I used to go to marathons to watch my dad at the age of eight, so it kind of hits home when an eight-year-old boy is killed having just been watching his dad finish a marathon,” said Dixon.

For Ean Parsons from the Sedgfield Harriers, this was his first marathon since the Boston Marathon. He said he finished the marathon, but he didn’t complete it. There was nothing after the race for the runners, after the tragedy.

“This felt to me like the second half of the Boston Marathon. It was just fantastic,” said Parsons.

He is also very happy that he received his Boston Qualifying time by six seconds, so he will be able to go back to Boston next year.

Dan Makaveli, a University of Sunderland graduate’s relay team came in fourth place. He ran the fourth leg of the race out of six in about 46 minutes, that was just under 11k.

“The first 7k was really good and I did a good personal best at the time and then we turned round and the wind got me in the face and it coincided with going up hill. So it got quite slow towards the end,” said Makaveli.

Mel Brewis, from Sunderland, 31 was the teammate who crossed the finish line for them and she ran in the London Marathon too.

She said there was more pressure in the Marathon of the North, because of pressure to do well for the team, and the London Marathon was just something she crossed off her list of events.

One of the relay teams wore Superman costumes because they were running for Grace House, a Children’s Hospice. It was children’s hospice week and super heroes, so they decided to dress up as Superman.

Ross Finch, from South Shields, 26 ran the 3k leg of the relay and said it was a tough one. His part was all up hill, there was steps and there was wind in his face as well.

Liam Prickett, from Hebburn, 25, said they might run the half marathon together next year.

A group of Newcastle University cheerleaders decided to run together with their cheer shirts and blue, red and white ribbons in their hair.

Kristy Blake, 19, said the run was easier than she thought it would be and she didn’t train much, just on the treadmill. Her and her fellow cheerleaders decided to run for a fitness goal, but thought that they would have time to train and they didn’t.

Despite the bad weather, Dixon admitted that she had expected the conditions to be windy.

Dixon added: “It was quite windy out there, but it’s Sunderland, we’re use to wind. We just get on with it.”

After the races finished, Cram was pleased with the event and believed it was great to see all the people who competed in different races in the city centre running in different directions – despite admitting that it was a bit of a challenge to organise.

“I think people are still getting use to the idea in the city that there’s an event you can be apart of. We hope to grow the event and make it more of an annual event,” Cram added.


Emma Watson Chooses Education Over Hollywood

Emma Watson has been turning down roles to focus on her final year at Brown University.

According to The Daily Mirror, Emma, 23, is due to graduate with an English degree in May.

A source told The Daily Mirror: “Emma is in demand with Hollywood directors but has so much to focus on with her studies, that she has had to pass on a few things – she simply can’t do ­everything.”

“It’s tough but she believes it was the right thing,” the source added.

The Harry Potter star enrolled in Brown University in 2009, but took some time off to finish filming ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II’, The Belfast Telegraphreported.

According to the Metro, Emma transferred to Oxford University in 2011, but took some more time off to film ‘The Perks Of Being A Wallflower’. She retuned to classes at Brown University at the beginning of this year.

The actress tweeted earlier this month: “Anyone handing in final papers, taking exams, working hard … You can dooo ittttt!!!”

Emma is just like all the other students studying for exams and writing papers.

She is not the first celebrity to attend an Ivy League school, but many other stars dropped out and Emma is very determined to finish.

According to Business Insider, Claire Danes dropped out of Yale University to return to acting. Matt Damon dropped out of Harvard University and Jake Gyllenhaal dropped out of Columbia University after his sophomore year.

Katie Holmes was accepted to Columbia University, but deferred her acceptance to star on the hit TV show, ‘Dawson’s Creek’. She had been deferring annually, but in 2006 her father withdrew her name from the university, Contact Music reported.

Emma is on the path to receive her Bachelor of Arts in May and hopefully after that we will see her on the big screen again.

Published on my blog, Hollywood Starlets on December 30, 2013: