May 4, 2007

21 Run Helps Literacy, Brings Community Together

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Looking for a way to burn off those calories you gained on Slope Day? The men’s lacrosse team has scheduled the perfect way to do just that. Tomorrow, the team will host the third annual 21 Run, to be held at the Cornell Plantations. The event will honor the memory of George Boiardi ’04, who died during a game in the 2004 season.
“The 21 run started … three years ago after George passed away,” said senior Ethan Vedder. “Some of the guys on the team, some of his good friends, classmates as well as some of the underclassman all the time, started thinking that George was such a great person that we needed to do something in his honor. He gave so much to us that we needed to do something for him.”
Boiardi had planned to join the Teach for America organization after graduating from Cornell and was set to teach on an Indian reservation in South Dakota. Therefore, proceeds from the 21 Run will benefit the Ithaca Family Reading Partnership, to honor Boiardi’s commitment to literacy.
“[Boiardi] was really passionate about literacy and leading the way for younger generations,” said senior co-captain Mitch Belisle. “We kind of want to carry that on by helping the Ithaca Family Reading Partnership.”
The first two years of the 21 Run have been very successful, raising over $2,000 and having over 900 supporters. The team purposely selected this weekend, and the day after its final regular season game of the year against Hobart, because it is Alumni Weekend.
“We figured we wanted the people who knew George, the alumni who played with George and family members of teammates who knew George to come back,” Vedder said. “We figured that the best time would be [Alumni Weekend]. We would have some of those people, family, friends, the Boiardi family and teammates who had played with him.”
The event has been passed down over the years through the Cornell lacrosse family.
“Justin Redd ’05 and Ian Rosenberger ’05 spearheaded the campaign,” Belisle said. “The older guys that first started it did a great job of organizing it and making it so professional and easy to get involved with.”
Tomorrow, registration begins at 11 a.m. and there will be music and food beginning at 12:30 p.m. The run will begin at 1:21 p.m., to honor Boiardi’s No. 21. There is parking on-site at the Plantations.
“It is a beautiful track,” Vedder said. “The last two years has been gorgeous, and I’m hoping this year will be about the same.”
The run is open to all members of the community in an effort to foster unity in the Ithaca area. Over the years, there several groups have all joined the effort.
“We have had an Ithaca boy’s lacrosse team come up with their jerseys; we have people coming from our classes; we have had athletics teams show up,” Vedder said. “We want Ithaca and Cornell coming together, which was the real purpose from the beginning. We didn’t want this to be just a Cornell event; we wanted this to be a Cornell and Ithaca community event, because in the end it will help out the entire community.”