Each year, Oklahoma Christian University amasses a team of runners under the name Team OC to run in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. This marathon is held in memory of the lives lost in the Oklahoma City Bombing.
Oklahoma Christian has brought the largest group to run the marathon several times in its 15 years of participation. In 2022, former Oklahoma Christian cross country runner Bryant Keirns won the marathon.
The race begins with 168 seconds of silence to honor each life lost in 1995. As the runners advance through the track, 168 banners will flicker past them as well. The track winds through Bricktown, the Oklahoma State Capitol, parks, churches and neighborhoods.
Neil Arter, Chief Student Life Officer and the Dean of Students, shared what he learned from his experience running with Team OC.
“For many of us that exercise, that time is either well-spent with our friends or used to clear our heads,” Arter said. “There’s so many good things that come out of it, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.”
As a primary Team OC recruiter, Arter explained why he values student participation.
“It’s about getting yourself out of your comfort zone. Students can be really proud of themselves and what they accomplished, and it’s a great feeling,” Arter said.
Team OC offers a variety of avenues for student involvement. Full marathons, half marathons, relays and 5ks all welcome Oklahoma Christian representation.
Wes McKinzie, Assistant Professor of Business, has been running with Team OC since 2005. He has participated in one full marathon, 10 half marathons and 5 relay races.
“Race day itself is incredibly encouraging, even if you aren’t a fast runner or if you aren’t in the greatest shape. You go faster on a race day because of the support that you have,” McKinzie said. “You can go out with your friends for a relay, half or even full run together.”
McKinzie commented on the value of running the race.
“I encourage everybody to do it at least once during their time at OC. As counterintuitive as it might sound, it’s actually pretty fun,” McKinzie said.
Natalie Grounds, a Fitness Class Instructor for the DUB, gave advice to those on the sidelines supporting the participants.
“One of the best encouragements is either getting a text or seeing a friendly face when you’re really struggling and you’re like, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ It gives you an extra boost to keep going. I would highly encourage somebody to do that as well,” Grounds said.
For runners needing motivation, Grounds offered advice.
“Look for the group, use them as encouragement and guidance, because that’s the point of being a team. We’re all out for the same goal and prize,” Grounds said. “Look for Team OC, be proud of who you’re running with and wear the name properly.”
To run with Team OC, email email@example.com.