Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tuscaloosa’s first half marathon to help rebuild schools


In the aftermath of the April 27, 2011 tornado, members of the community have come up with many different ways to help rebuild Tuscaloosa.

This March, ReadBAMARead and the Kiwanis Club of Greater Tuscaloosa will host Tuscaloosa’s first Half Marathon, with all the proceeds going toward rebuilding school libraries and playgrounds that were destroyed.

According to the Tuscaloosa Half Marathon website, four schools were destroyed in the city by direct result of the tornado. ReadBAMARead hopes to raise $150,000 to purchase books for the destroyed libraries. Every runner that signs up for the race will allow ReadBAMARead to purchase four books for their recovery project.

Whitney Brennan, a sophomore majoring in nutrition, began running in college as a way to stay healthy and relieve stress. She decided to run in Tuscaloosa’s Half Marathon as her first personal running goal. Her father will be traveling from Texas to join her in running.

“I’ve done tornado cleanup before, but I had no clue coming here that it would be so personal,” Brennan said. “It’s one thing to see it on TV, but it’s another thing to be cleaning up marbles at someone’s destroyed house.”

Brennan is excited to be able to give back in such an unconventional way. She hopes by having the race direct runners through the destruction of the tornado, the emotional impact will encourage others to continue to help out in the community with “second wind” volunteer efforts.

“I think that it’s really great to be able to use something that I’m passionate about to help improve the community and see how much progress we made,” she said. “We should celebrate our progress, but we still have a long way to go.”

In preparation for her first long run, Brennan will be running with the Honors College Half Marathon training group.

“I’m really excited to run it just as a personal goal and being able to use it to help out the community,” Brennan said. “I am pretty pumped.”

Katie Hall, a senior majoring in public relations, is an experienced runner, having just recently completed the Chicago marathon. She has run in multiple half marathons and is excited that Tuscaloosa can now be on her list.

“Being someone that was here when the tornado came through, I think it will definitely be a little emotional to run the path of the tornado and see what happened, but at the same time, uplifting to see how the city is rebuilding,” Hall said. “It will give you the push to finish; if we were strong enough to get through the tornado, we can finish the race.”

Hall always tries to run for some sort of charity. For the Chicago marathon, she raised money for Alzheimer’s, and other times for autism awareness.

“I think it’s very interesting to be the first group of people running the Tuscaloosa marathon,” Hall said. “I’ve always wanted Tuscaloosa to have a marathon. It’s a pretty city to run in.”

The race will be held March 2, 2013 and will begin at 8 a.m. Runners can register online at

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