Last weekend hundreds of Hamiltonians from across the country joined in a tradition gone virtual — HamTrek.

To mark the 17th anniversary of the annual sprint triathlon, typically held on and around Hamilton’s campus, participants had the opportunity to run/walk 5 kilometers or do a 30-minute exercise from wherever they are in the world. In addition, they were asked to donate to an organization that assists those impacted by COVID-19.

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Missy Mariano, head field hockey coach, spearheaded the idea for Virtual HamTrek, which started as an optional 5K for her team to support a local soup kitchen. Upon hearing that more student-athletes wanted to join the cause to help relief efforts, the planning escalated.

“It’s amazing to see the number of people who came together for this event from Maine to Hawaii,” Mariano said of the list of nearly 500 registered participants. “[There were] faculty, staff, students, alumni, family members, incoming freshmen, and even some prospective Hamilton students signed up to participate.”

Members of the field hockey team and Student Activities collectively organized the event, working together to raise awareness of the cause.

Cat Donahue ’21 was excited to help organize event logistics and promotional media efforts. A captain of the field hockey team, she pledged to walk a 5K from her home in Wellesley, Mass., donating to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “I hope that it brings more awareness to participants about how this crisis is affecting others, not just ourselves, and how it can help make a difference from a distance,” she said. 

Overall, the event was a great success, garnering widespread popularity across social media as participants posted pictures of themselves donning Hamilton gear.

“Although many of us are doing our part in staying home and social distancing, we all want to do just a bit more to aid in the fight against COVID-19,” Mariano said. “Our hope is that the greater Hamilton community feels united by Virtual HamTrek, and although we can’t be together, we can come together for a greater cause.”

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