Browning Boys Take On World Marathon Challenge

Middle School Head Chris Dunham reports on some exciting news generated by Middle School boys on October 17:

Jason Wood of Save the Children spoke to Browning boys in May about Save the Children’s World Marathon Challenge. The event raises awareness of World Food Day, held every October, and the urgent need to fight childhood hunger and malnutrition. At the time, I indicated that plans were underway for The Browning School boys to join with other New York City students in organizing an event to raise funds as part of the World Marathon Challenge.

Happily, plans came to fruition, and Browning led the way in this initiative. At an assembly in September, Mark Shriver, senior vice president for U.S. programs at Save the Children, accompanied by Mr. Wood, made this exciting announcement, and on October 17, 126 Middle School boys participated, raising close to $9,000! The boys were able to set the North American school marathon record at 2:15:03! The boys marked off a 200-meter race track on the west side of Central Park’s Great Lawn oval. The Browning boys raced like true champions, thanks to the expert coaching of Browning parent and New York Road Runners CEO Mary Wittenberg joined by John Horenkamp, former St. John’s University cross country coach and eight time top-10 finisher at the U.S. Track and Field National Championships, along with running Master’s Hall of Famer and NYRR’s Team for Kids coach Sid Howard.

To kick off the event, the day before the race, Form I boys were honored to conduct a Skype chat with current world record holder, Wilson Kipsang of Kenya. Wilson recently broke the record at the Berlin Marathon with a time of 2:03:23 and is the only man with three marathon performances in the all-time top 20! He was nothing short of inspirational as he spoke to the boys about training, focus, speed and his admiration for Browning’s participation in the World Marathon Challenge. Mr. Shriver, who was also the guest speaker at Browning’s 2013 graduation exercises, is the son of Sergeant Shriver ‘34, founder of the Peace Corps. During the assembly, he spoke about his father’s influence upon him, emphasizing that we must all endeavor, every day, to engage in “small acts of hope,” as his father called them. He implored the boys to remember that everyone has different skills and that we are all capable of goodness. “Be nice to others, including those you might often take for granted. If you see someone on the street who is homeless, consider helping out in a food pantry.”

Browning boys listened eagerly at the September assembly and were pleased to tell Mr. Shriver about their own efforts to perform selfless acts on a regular basis: some work in soup kitchens, while others donate presents to children in need or volunteer to help children with disabilities play a sport, etc. I was also proud to tell him of the food drive the School sponsors at Thanksgiving time. Needless to say, Mr. Shriver was thrilled to hear all this, saying each story was “a fantastic example of how we can help others all year long.”

According to the group’s website, Save the Children is “the leading independent organization creating lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world.”