Independently-run ‘run’ kicks off school year

Photo by William McGinn

The first lap of the run at Polonsky Commons, students with their arms stretched out and heads shot forward like bulls.

People from towns, cities and schools across Canada take part the Terry Fox Run at the start of every school year, but at Durham College and UOIT, the year started out with a small run inspired from Japanese literature.

UOIT student Jack Hamilton wanted to organize a Naruto Run for a big portion of the summer, having it in mind throughout June and July.

“As time went on, I got more and more into the idea,” he explained.

Naruto is a long running and best-selling comic book and television series that stretches more than 20 years. Recently, social media has popularized this type of run. Runners move with their heads stretched out like charging bulls and hold their arms out approximately 30 degrees from their hips.

The 2017-18 school year began and Hamilton was at his first single and multiplayer class for Game Development and Entrepreneurship, which can help him perhaps develop Naruto-inspired videogames in the future. He began talking about the possibility of a run with his friend Drew Terbrack, and with a bit of Terbrack’s inspiration, Hamilton decided to make the Facebook event. It took 15 minutes. Less than a week later, more than 200 people showed interest in going and 60 people confirmed they were going.

The run started at 4:20 p.m. on Sept. 12, but instead of the 60 runners who committed via Facebook, 13 students ended up attending. Small numbers of actual attendees compared to Facebook confirmations are not uncommon, however.

On a chat list of people who have organized events in the past, most commenters have said the percentage of guests who actually show up when they say they are going is between 10 per cent and 40 per cent. The Naruto Run still happened and those who attended had a blast running across Polonsky Commons with their arms stretched out like they were ready to soar.

Ari Lotter, one of the students who ran, said, “[My friend and I] found this event on Facebook, and we just decided to give it a go.”

This Naruto Run was not a school-sanctioned event. Hamilton came up with the idea and put it together on his own. In his opinion, the school does not do as well as it could with events, lacking in excitement and popularity. “I felt embarrassed to be going out to these events,” he explained. “The SA should really work on [the school events]. People don’t want to go out to some no name band. Bring them something fun or funny.”

Hamilton is not unfamiliar with the best way to get people’s attention, either. He says he and a fraternity he is part of raised $15,000 for the Heart & Stroke Foundation by partaking in a game of Car-Push. Hamilton also says every fraternity and sorority on campus also helped with a Halloween event called ‘Trick or Eat’ one night, and were able to gather 1,600 canned goods that went to the Royal Canadian Legion.

After Hamilton was interviewed, he was inspired to also include a charity for this event and opened a donation link for Autism Awareness. (Put this section only on the online story) You can check out his donation opportunity with this link: http://act.autismspeaks.org/site/TR?px=4449596&fr_id=2860&pg=personal

Despite the small turnout, judging by everyone’s laughing and smiles, everyone who showed up had a fun time, and Hamilton may have more ideas to inspire students and faculty to come up with their very own independent events to host.

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William juggles all sorts of skills and dreams in a panic to find what sticks: He's an author, movie and book reviewer, voice actor and YouTuber. He is the author of the YA book The Blacktop Brothers and its four sequels, and has been reviewing movies and books weekly on his website, Weldon Witness, since 2014. His main hobbies are sleeping in, speeding through books, and obsessing over the lost TV show, Monster by Mistake.

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