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In a tribute sure to be coveted by marathon runners around the world, the Boston Athletic Association has given the family of Lu Lingzi (GRS’13), the BU student killed in the bombing at last year’s Boston Marathon, 15 spots for runners in this year’s race. The Lu family has given five of those spots to runners from the Boston University community.
The honorary spots are exempt from the customary Boston Marathon requirement: runners will not have to meet a qualifying time, nor will they have a fundraising minimum, but any money raised will go to the Lu Lingzi Scholarship Fund, which endows two graduate students with an annual stipend and full tuition for up to two years. That fund has already exceeded $1 million.
“BU is dear to our heart,” says Helen Zhao, Lu’s aunt. “The family wants to continue to support BU and Lingzi’s scholarship, hoping more students can benefit from it to pursue their dreams.” Zhao says the other 10 spots will be given to people chosen by the family.
Any member of the BU community—student, staff, faculty, or alum—interested in running is asked to electronically submit a brief written statement or video describing what running the marathon in honor of Lu would mean to them by end of day, Friday, February 7. The five winners will be chosen soon after. Kenneth Elmore, dean of students, says the ideal submission will be “respectful of this occasion and will really demonstrate why a person feels they can engage in this honor that we have been given.”
Submissions will be reviewed by representatives from the Dean of Students Office, Marsh Chapel, the International Students & Scholars Office, Alumni Relations, Student Government, Government & Community Affairs, the Office of the Provost, and the Lu family.
“Throughout my interactions with them, this family has shown me what grace is all about,” says Elmore (SED’87). “For them to think of us during their time of sadness and sorrow, and to give the people in this community the chance to show their support in such a spectacular way, we should be humbled and honored.”
With only 11 weeks until the Marathon, anyone chosen to run who has not been training will need to begin immediately. Jennifer Battaglino (SED’03), instructor of a FitRec marathon training class, has volunteered to help runners train. Barnes & Noble at BU will design jerseys for the runners.