Seeing professors leaping over bales of hay or a college president splashing through a creek is a rare occurrence, indeed, on most campuses. Beloit College President and “Runner-in-Chief” Scott Bierman wants to make it a frequent sight in his town, at least on one day each year.
Members of Team Beloit hoisting the Shoehorn Trophy at the 2010 Olde English Classic.
Bierman has issued a collegial challenge to faculty and staff at the other 13 ACM colleges to lace up their running shoes in pursuit of glory – and the Shoehorn Trophy – at the 49th running of the Olde English Classic, an annual cross country steeplechase race held as part of Beloit’s Homecoming Weekend festivities.
The 5-kilometer event, in which the contestants are traditionally sent on their way by a bugle call and pistol shot, will be held on Saturday, October 1, at 10:00 a.m. at Leeson Park in Beloit, WI. The hilly course challenges runners with a variety of obstacles – steeplechase barriers, logs, bales of hay – and a dash through the water near the finish line.
The ACM challenge will be contested in the Harrer-Hodges President’s Open Race, which will precede the women’s and men’s collegiate cross country meets held on the course that day. Teams of ACM college faculty and staff, and their spouses or partners, are invited to participate. The team scores will be based on the places of the top three males and the top three females from each college.
The winning team in the ACM challenge will receive the prestigious Shoehorn Trophy, which was fashioned from a pair of old running spikes discovered by the Beloit athletic department and an antique bugle donated by a member of the college’s faculty.
The runners take off in the 2010 race.
The trophy debuted at last year’s Olde English Classic, after Bierman challenged fellow Wisconsin ACM members Lawrence University and Ripon College to send faculty/staff teams to compete. An avid runner, Bierman led the Beloit contingent to victory, and the Shoehorn was proudly displayed in a place of honor on the Beloit campus.
The Shoehorn Trophy has been designated as a “traveling” award. Each year, the winning squad gets to take it home until the following year’s Classic, when teams from the other ACM colleges have their chance to wrest the trophy away from the reigning champs.
The trophy did some unscheduled traveling last November, though, when it went missing during a meeting at Beloit of the presidents of the ACM colleges. A poster soon went up on campus offering a reward for the return of the “kidnapped” Shoehorn. Could the trophy’s disappearance have been the work of a disgruntled opponent? This question may never be answered, but the Shoehorn reappeared in its rightful spot at Beloit this summer.
The fabled creek crossing.
Already, teams from Lawrence, Ripon, and Lake Forest College are forming – and no doubt rigorously training – in hopes of sprinting past the Beloit squad to victory and possession of the Shoehorn.
Along with his challenge, Bierman offered to make showers and locker rooms available for ACM participants and invited them to stay for a post-race lunch.
Faculty and staff at ACM colleges interested in making a run for the Shoehorn can register on the Beloit website. An ACM college can add its team (minimum of six runners) to the “Affiliation” list on the registration page by contacting President Bierman’s office.