by Lauren Eller
Kenyon’s campus will come to life with the Earth Day Festival, a half marathon and a four-mile run this Sunday, April 19. The races will begin at 8 a.m., and the festival will begin at 10 a.m.
Heather Doherty, director of programming for the Brown Family Environmental Center (BFEC) and coordinator of the festival events, worked with BFEC partners and other organizations to execute the event.
Some partners include the Knox County Health Department, The Ohio State University Extension Office and the Knox County Park District. “ I think it’s a great opportunity for the College as they pursue even greater community involvement. This is very much an event that’s of and for the community,” Doherty said.
She added that there will be a number of groups and individuals selling products during the festival, and that there will be over 90 exhibitors and vendors present.
“A lot of them will be making handbags and clothing and jewelry, and … someone’s making bowls out of records and you can make a bag out of an old T-shirt, and just a lot of really fun products,” she said. “So it’s a great way to feel good about your shopping habits.”
There will also be a small farmers’ market to accompany the other events and vendors who will sell products such as eggs, meat, cheese and other produce, as well as sweet treats like maple syrup and honey.
The two races will span Kenyon’s campus and beyond, according to Emily Heithaus, coordinator of lifetime fitness and physical education and committee member for the races.
John Hofferberth, associate professor of chemistry and director of the Earth Day races, added that the structure of the race options has changed over the years.
“Initially it was a full marathon and half marathon, and there was also a relay option, so you could do a relay full marathon,” he said. “And what we found over the years is that first of all the half marathon is the most popular running distance in the country right now. Everyone loves the half marathon. And so the half marathon’s always been the signature race.”
He mentioned that the four-mile race stemmed from the fact that students and community members tended not to do the marathon. Providing a four-mile option encouraged more local involvement.
Heithaus said there will be open race-day registration available for anyone who is unable to register online beforehand (www.premierraces.org) so that participants can register on a walk-in basis if they wish.
“What we really want to make the event is a celebration,” Doherty said, “and also to illustrate that there are really easy ways to be good to yourself and the planet.”