HAVERFORD, Pa. - The Fifth Annual Joe Schwartz '83 Memorial 3K Run/Walk, held on the campus of Haverford College, brought a successful conclusion to the inaugural celebration of NCAA Division III Week on Sunday, April 15.
Capturing the spirit of community service and campus involvement that permeates at Haverford, the Joe Schwartz Memorial 3K has raised nearly $15,000 for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research since its inception.
The Division III Week celebration aimed to provide an opportunity for all individuals associated with a Division III institution or conference to observe the impact of athletics on the campus and surrounding community, as student-athletes engage in activities focusing on academic accomplishment, athletic experience and leadership/community service/campus involvement.
The 2012 installment of the Joe Schwartz 3K saw over $1,200 raised as 129 participants of all ages completed the race course. Overall, nearly 700 people have participated over the five-year history of the event.
Fittingly, Elliot Schwartz, Joe's son and a current member of the Haverford track & field team, captured this year's race crown with a time of 10 minutes and 32.1 seconds. Garnering the top prize in the women's division was Christine Gall, a senior who completed her Haverford field hockey career this past fall.
Schwartz also earned recognition for being part of the winning team (consisting of at least one student, one faculty/staff member or alum, and one female). Joining Elliot on the top team was Nick Vechik and Alyssa Mayo.
Joe Schwartz graduated from Haverford College in 1983. He was a committed member of Haverford's cross country and track teams for the four years he attended Haverford, and he excelled in both sports. He encouraged those who won Middle Atlantic Conference championships, as well as students who were casual participants, to be part of something bigger than themselves. From the moment he stepped on the Haverford campus, Joe was integral in building a proud tradition of athletic excellence at this school.
In 1995, Joe contracted Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 34. He first noticed the symptoms when he was out training for road races. He courageously endured the hardships imposed by this cruel disease for thirteen years until his unfortunate death on Mar. 2, 2008. Joe left behind two young sons, both of whom are avid runners themselves, one even a member of Haverford's team.
Joe was the epitome of what a coach wishes for in a student-athlete, said head cross country and track & field head coach Tom Donnelly. He was enthusiastic, supported his teammates and loved his sport and school. Someone like Joe comes along once in a lifetime.
The Joe Schwartz '83 Memorial 3K Run/Walk is designed to attract the running superstar and the walking novice because that is exactly how Joe would want it. He simply loved people lacing up their shoes and enjoying the freedom to run and walk, a freedom that was deprived from Joe by ALS. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the ALS Association and directed towards ALS research. The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS. The cause, cure and means of control of ALS are unknown. Symptoms of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, include the wasting and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and respiration.