This past Saturday, students competed to see who could run Binghamton University’s “Brain” route the fastest at the third annual “Run the Brain” race.
Up to 20 students from each class year raced on the 1.3 mile long “Brain” sidewalk on campus, with the three fastest individual times being recognized in a medal ceremony. The fastest overall class year was also recorded and added to a trophy, which also displays winners from previous years.
Participants lined up to race at 9:00 a.m., starting at a relay three minutes apart from each other. The overall fastest runner was Benjamin Mulvehill, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, who won the event with a time of 07:19.7. The class of 2023 was the overall winner with an average time of 08:43.5.
Jennifer Keegin, associate director for campus activities, said the race initially started in 2020 as a way to hold a socially distanced event for students amid COVID-19.
“I’m actually a really big Tour de France fan, and so that got me thinking of setting up a time trial type of event where people are still able to race and win while not in direct contact with each other,” Keegin said. “I was pleased to do something new [because] I’m always trying to create new campus traditions even if it takes a while to let them grow.”
One of the biggest challenges she faced while organizing the event was attracting participants. Keegin said she felt that the morning time-slot, as well as the event being scheduled for Labor Day weekend, may have been a deterrent for some students.
Lisa Foreman, a junior double-majoring in Russian studies and political science, said the event is fun and most likely safe for racers, but also hopes that more people learn about it next year.
“I don’t think there is enough marketing for this, especially since it’s held fairly early in the semester and new students likely wouldn’t know about it,” Foreman said.
Despite this, Keegin and the participants expressed satisfaction with the event. Thomas Spencer, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering and second place finisher of the race with a time of 07:19.8, wrote in an email that a lot of good competition was present, which made him work hard for his placement.
“Although I came second, I’m happy the person I lost to was Mulvehill because he is a great runner and a fellow member of the running club,” Spencer wrote in an email. “The time between first place and second place was very close, which makes me want to train harder for next year’s Run the Brain.”
According to Keegin, some ideas are currently being developed to diversify next year’s race in order to draw more competitors and potential spectators. One of these ideas is a nighttime event with a glow-in-the-dark theme.
Mulvehill wrote in an email that his previous placements of bronze in the 2020 race and silver in the 2021 race gave him the motivation to compete again this year and go for gold.
“I was shocked and pleased with my time and performance, and was happy to see a good showing by the running club members as well,” Mulvehill wrote. “The event has a history of having Binghamton Running Club members winning, so [I’m] glad to keep that rolling.”