By Holly McCray
|Two OU Wesley runners train. Mitchell Milligan, left, is a junior from OKC-St. Andrew’s, and Greg Heigle, a sophomore, is from OKC-St. Luke’s.
Campus minister Daniel Dennison hoped five or six OU Wesley Foundation students might join him to run in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon last spring.
Running had become his main form of exercise, after shoulder surgery ended his racquetball play. Rev. Dennison committed to run the half-marathon race and announced his goal in worship. He invited interested students to meet with him for more details.
He was surprised when more than 20 OU students showed up.
The annual marathon remembers those lives lost April 19, 1995, when the federal building downtown was bombed.
"It’s obviously a major part of history, and it still affects us today," Dennison said. When he resolved to enter his first sanctioned run, "it seemed that should be the one."
The OU Wesley team trained hard, and 19 students ran with Dennison on race day. With five of them, he completed the half-marathon. Five others ran in a full-marathon relay team, and nine completed the 5K race.
Beside physical benefits, their efforts raised about $2,000 for the Circle of Care Boys Ranch and the OU Wesley, and promoted healthy habits and enabled fellowship.
After the races, they enjoyed free pancakes served by OKC-First UMC. And several visited the national memorial site. "That was very moving," Dennison said. "We were just thinking, observing, praying. Nobody had to say a word."
Back on campus, the OU Wesley runners had T-shirts and medals to display and quite a story to tell others.
As the fall semester got under way, Dennison reported an informal group of OU Wesley runners is ongoing. The students "regularly get together and run or go exercise in some way," he said.