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Above: Chougule Akash, 23, of East Greenwich, R.I., is the first to cross
the finish line with a time of 17:03.
Below: Katherine Mechem ’15 (Rye, N.Y) and her father, Willard
Mechem, celebrate their 28-minute finish.

More than 900 say ‘yes’ to Friar 5K, which features a marriage proposal

More than 900 people ran, jogged, and walked three hilly miles through Providence’s Elmhurst neighborhood on a clear and brisk Saturday morning, October 26, to complete the fourth annual Friar 5K and raise at least $12,000 for student scholarships at Providence College.

The race, which is sanctioned by USA Track and Field, was a benefit this year for the National Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, which was established in 2008 to provide financial assistance to students demonstrating academic merit and financial need. 

Twenty-three-year-old Chougule Akash of East Greenwich, R.I., finished first with a time of 17:03. The first woman to cross the line was Trish Hillery ’89 & ’09G of Greenville, R.I., who ran the race in 18:52. It was the second straight year that Hillery, 46, who was a top runner at PC, won the women’s division. She was 14th overall.

Dr. Seann P. Mulcahy, assistant professor of chemistry, finished fifth with a time of 17:23.

“I wasn’t able to participate last year due to an injury, so it was great to be able to race this year,” said Mulcahy, 31. “It’s a fun event that brings together students, faculty, staff, and alumni for a good cause, and we had perfect weather for the race.

“This year, I was able to convince some of my research students to join me on the starting line. Teaching students by your own example how to stay healthy through regular exercise is important to me,” Mulcahy said.

The race was an opportunity for alumni to return to campus. Ann T. Larkin Smith ’81 of Lawrenceville, N.J., walked the course with her daughter, Mary Elizabeth Smith ’16. Later, they planned to attend the men’s hockey game against Miami.

Mary Elizabeth is a political science major and economics minor who is on the Legacy Committee of the Student Alumni Association. She said she hadn’t participated in the Friar 5K as a freshman, “really regretted it,” and decided to make amends this year.

For Ann Smith, it was an opportunity to reconnect with PC and her daughter.

“I only have so many hours to spend with her,” Smith said. 

The last time Michael Schumann ’93 of Somerville, Mass., ran the Friar 5K, his wife was expecting their daughter Annika. This time, Annika, who turns 2 in November, joined the competition herself, in a jogging stroller pushed by her aunt, Jenny Brennan. They finished in 32:36.

“People were just psyched,” said an enthusiastic Schumann. “They were excited to cheer the Friars on. The staff was just great. We were amazed. It’s a sea of black and white. People are just happy to be here. It’s awesome.”

Like other alumni, Schumann used the visit to campus to stop by the PC Bookstore and stock up on Friar merchandise. Annika cradled a Friar teddy bear. Asked if she would attend PC one day, Schumann said, “Nothing would make us happier.”

A marriage proposal at the finish

The Friar 5K featured a first: a marriage proposal. As Shannon Gamache, a major gifts officer in PC’s Office of Institutional Advancement, came across the finish line, her boyfriend, Detrick Scurry, was waiting. He dropped to his knees and asked her to marry him.

Gamache accepted the proposal as her mother, Jeanne Gamache, and children, 18-year-old Gavin and 14-year-old Ayden, stood by cheering and holding signs.

“She finished this race,” said Scurry. “Now we take a new step into another race.”

Rev. Augustine Reisenauer, O.P., assistant professor of theology, had the distinction of being the top finishing Dominican, finishing 33rd with a time of 20:35 after training only on an elliptical machine.

The race “exceeded my expectations,” said Father Reisenauer, 32. “It was a great coming together, supporting a great cause, being champions of mind, body, and spirit.”

The Friar 5K featured children’s races on the new outdoor track and field complex. After the 5K, a Fan Fest on the Slavin Lawn, sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations and the Department of Athletics, featured live music, games, and refreshments. A post-race party was held in McPhail’s in the Slavin Center. 

For more race results, please go to Racewire.com.

— Vicki-Ann Downing

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