Be Great Today 5K brings in $8,000 in its third year


The third annual Be Great Today 5K welcomed over 300 runners and raised over $8,000 on Saturday morning.
On May 15, 2011, first-year Marshall Mathew, whose trademark saying was “Be Great Today,” took his own life. After Mathew’s death, senior Stephanie Sharlow and Jimmy Kirkpatrick ’13 decided to start the Be Great Today 5K run / walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
In creating this race, Sharlow and Kirkpatrick wanted to shed a positive light on an otherwise dark issue.
“We were trying to find a way to find a silver lining in this and find a positive outcome that could come from this,” Sharlow said, “and then we came up with the 5K.”
The money raised on Saturday for the Be Great Today Foundation brought the fund’s total endowment to approximately $48,000 over the past three years. It was a ten percent increase in individual donations compared to last year.
Senior Judith Yi has participated in the race every year since its founding as a tribute to Mathew.
“It was a way for me to tell Marshall [Mathew] that I’m thinking of him,” Yi said.
Although this year’s senior class is the last to have known Mathew, Sharlow has faith that suicide prevention and the Be Great Today 5K will continue to have a large presence on DePauw’s campus in the coming years.
“The fact that [the race] keeps going, and it was so strong this year, it makes me so happy because obviously this is something I want to see continue for a long time after we’re gone,” Sharlow said.
Senior Suzanne Spencer, who was the first woman to finish the race this year, agrees with Sharlow.
“The race has evolved in the sense that it’s not just about Marshall,” Spencer said. “It’s broadly a great idea for suicide prevention and awareness, so I think that, even though our class is the last to have known Marshall, it will still go on and it will still be successful.”
This is exactly what the organizers of the Be Great Today 5K intended.
Senior Ashley Bauer, who coordinated the event on campus while Sharlow is off-campus for the semester for an internship in New York, believes that making the event more focused on suicide prevention in general will allow future grades who may not have known Mathew to continue to feel involved.
According to Bauer, the organizers hope to begin “moving away from Marshall [Mathew]and focusing on the prevention aspect of it.”
“I think [suicide] is a big trend on college campuses, sadly, so by raising awareness, hopefully we can combat what’s happening,” Bauer said.
Despite the tragedy that losing Mathew was, the Be Great Today 5K creates a positive atmosphere to remind everyone that suicide prevention is important to address and that there are always people on campus to talk to.
“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” Sharlow said. “If we work together, we can help people find help and overcome it.”