Tabor Academy has a number of annual traditions; perhaps one of the most important of them is the annual lap-a-thon. For the past eight years, rain or shine, the lap-a-thon has taken place at the Tabor track on a Sunday in the spring, and it did again this past weekend.
Gary Sousa, Tabor faculty member, runs for the Dana Farber Institute for cancer research in the Boston Marathon. Sousa has been running for ten years and holds the lap-a-thon at Tabor to help raise funds and awareness and to further the community’s contribution to Dana Farber.
Sousa, who commits a great deal of his time to running, was inspired by his training partners to run with them in the Boston Marathon for Dana Farber. Sousa figured that since he already spent a lot of time running, he should use his passion to benefit a good cause. Due to his fulfilling experience, he realized that cancer is a pervasive issue and wanted to not only raise funds, but also, awareness. Sousa established the Tabor lap-a-thon during his second year as a faculty member, and it has been a major success.
All of the proceeds from the lap-a-thon are directed towards the charity and they come in a variety of ways. Each team that participates in the event consists of five members, each of whom must pay an entry fee. In addition, anyone can purchase a T-shirt or take part in the raffle. Local restaurants and small businesses often contribute donations. The community raises roughly $5,000 each year, usually doubling Sousa’s personal fundraising. Dana Farber as a whole raised $6.1 million by Marathon Monday and will continue to collect donations until September. Sousa often goes above and beyond his fundraising requirement for participation, especially due to the support of the local businesses and the Tabor community.
The whole community came together for the day. There were students, faculty, and faculty children supporting the cause. The atmosphere was exciting and cheerful with live performances from members of the Tabor community and grilling throughout the day. Participants on each team dressed up in themed outfits, vying for the annual prize of “best-costume.” Some teams fight to complete 105 laps, the equivalent of a marathon, while others compete for the record lap-a-thon time in which the marathon is completed. The lap-a-thon is a four-hour event, a time that coincides with Sousa’s personal marathon goal.
Although the weather is not always ideal, almost the entire community arrives at the track on the morning of the lap-a-thon. Sousa recalls that a few years ago, it was a very rainy morning and no one had arrived just before the lap-a-thon was supposed to start. As he was losing hope, suddenly teams began proceeding up to the track and it was a great turnout. It is heart-warming for Sousa to see how many people come out to support the cause. Sousa admits that he is ”always impressed by how many people show up on the day.”
By Julia O’Rourke