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Monday, Mar 4, 2024

Student-organized marathon raises over $2,600 for Hunger Free Vermont

Cheboubi '24 and Thiam '24 finishing the last couple miles with the support of other students.
Cheboubi '24 and Thiam '24 finishing the last couple miles with the support of other students.

Sophomores Youness Cheboubi ’24 and Malick Thiam ’24 organized and ran in a marathon on Sunday, Nov. 21 that raised over $2,600 for Hunger Free Vermont, a local organization that fights food injustice and malnutrition. Dozens of students came out to help run sections of the marathon and kept morale high throughout the event. 

The duo’s running adventures began this past summer when Thiam ran a half-marathon in New York City and put out a call on Instagram to have people come out and join. Cheboubi, who lives in New Jersey, came out to run part of the half-marathon with him. 

“My thinking was when I had done that half-marathon, it was mentally a lot easier to have people like Youness pull up in the middle and help you get through the last few miles,” Thiam said. 

He approached Cheboubi with the idea of running an entire marathon this semester, and Cheboubi, eager to cross running a marathon off of his bucket list, agreed. The two decided that they wanted to run for charity and came across Hunger Free Vermont after an internet search. 

The plans for the marathon came together over the month of November. Cheboubi and Thiam set up a GoFundMe with the initial goal of raising $500. They approached Student Government Association President Roni Lezama ’22 with their idea, and the College donated $300 to the effort. The Center for Community Engagement also provided an additional $200 that Cheboubi and Thiam spent on snacks and other supplies for the 26.2-mile run. 

With race day fast approaching, Cheboubi and Thiam started advertising the marathon around campus and online, creating a promotional video and a website at go/middmarathon. Students were invited to sign up to run with them online. The duo mapped out locations where students could join at multiple points: for the half marathon, the six miles, the last two miles or the final mile. 

Cheboubi and Thiam did some training runs but stressed their own newness to the sport.

“We’re not runners,” Cheboubi said. “You don’t have to be a runner to join.” 

On Nov. 21, Cheboubi, Thiam and other students began the long run by Fusile Field. They picked a flat route by Creek Road. 

“We had a surprising amount of people join for each portion,” Cheboubi said. “If it were just me and Malick, I think we would have fared way worse.” Dozens of people joined for the last couple of miles, running with the duo back to campus.

The duo agreed that running passed quicker than they expected. “After three hours, I did not feel like three hours had gone by,” Thiam said. “You’re so in the moment.” 

The pair were pleased to finish under four hours with a time of 3:52, which was one of their goals. After the marathon, they celebrated in the McCullough tent with donuts, and a representative from Hunger Free Vermont came to share some information about the organization. Cheboubi and Thiam were exhausted and limping the day after, but spirits were high. “Same time tomorrow?” Cheboubi joked at the after-party. 

“That was really heartwarming to see everyone there,” Cheboubi said. Although there are no immediate plans for another Midd Marathon, Cheboubi and Thiam were appreciative of the support from the community and are open to the possibility of planning or attending another event in the future. 

Charlie Keohane

Charlie Keohane ’24 (she/her) is an Editor at Large. She previously served as the SGA Correspondent and a Senior Writer.   

She is an environmental writing major and a psychology minor from Northern California. Outside of academics, Charlie is a Senior Admissions Fellow at the Middlebury Admissions Office. She also is involved with the women’s track team and hosts Witching Hour, a radio show on 91.1 WRMC. In Spring 2023, she studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, watching Greta Gerwig movies, polar plunging, sending snail mail, and FaceTiming her rescue dog, Poppy.