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Freedoms Run: The students and alumni of Shepherd

By Staff | Oct 17, 2014

The sound of claps, cheers, and exhaustion, could be heard in Shepherdstown last Saturday as each runner crossed the finish line, smiling and gasping for air. The 25 mile marathon called Freedom’s Run is held yearly and crosses two states. Starting in Harpers Ferry, crossing into Sharpsburg, Maryland, and ending in Shepherdstown, it is not only a run for the athletic elite to show off prowess, but something that brings the community and Uuiversity in Shepherdstown together.

Flyers can be seen all across the town, business’s sponsoring the marathon or even providing such things as food and beverages to runners after they cross the finish line. It is no secret that this is the most anticipated marathon of the year, and the sense of excitement is evident not only among the residents of Shepherdstown, but also the students at the university.

Cody Whetzel a student at Shepherd University ran the half marathon or 12.5 miles. He said it was his first time running in Freedoms Run, and running over 8 miles.

“The run was amazing! Very scenic, well planned, and went smoothly,” Whetzel said. “I loved the challenge of the course, and running in an old battlefield which was a part of American history.” Whetzel said that the run is not easy due to the amount of hills that are in the course, but that those who love a challenging marathon will love Freedoms Run.

His advice for runners who may be interested in taking part in Freedom’s Run next year is, “They should train on hills and remember to have fun because that’s what running is all about!”

Cody was not the only student who enjoyed Freedom’s Run this past Saturday, Christopher Dean, an alumni of Shepherd University ran last Saturday and loved every minute of it. Dean has run in 11 half marathons and says that Freedom’s Run is by far his favorite.

“It takes place in a beautiful town” Dean said, “Shepherdstown is the only town I’ve lived in that I would also call a community. I would say that the Freedom’s Run is a great representation of the Shepherdstown community as a whole.”

His advice for people who are running next year is too spend the entire weekend in Shepherdstown, to get to know the people and explore the various things the town and school have to offer.

“Take some time to really explore the parks. You’ll never find places quite like Harper’s Ferry or Antietam. Sit back and enjoy the beautiful country and delve the rich history the area has to offer,” he added. Dean has his Bachelors of Arts in Music Education and graduated in 2007.

Freedom’s Run not only brings people together to celebrate exercise, community and the rich history of the eastern panhandle, but also the bonding between fellow humans. Two alumni of Shepherd University even went so far as to get engaged at the finish line this year, Stephen Knipe popped the question upon the conclusion of the marathon.

“Running in Freedom’s Run has become a tradition with us, and so it was the perfect venue to tie such an important life event to for both of us,” Knipe said.

Freedom’s Run is not only a marathon, but a community of people coming together to celebrate the places they live, the history that has passed, and the people they love. It may be why runners from all over the United States come to partake in this great event.