Marina Slavin was a model of what I've come to understand as "The Oyster River Way." It's a balance of athletics, academics, and commuity service. After her unexpected passing, her parents Mike and Maura thought about how to keep her memory alive. They decided that something that brought people together to help fund an Oyster River scholarship was perfect. Last year that idea became the 1st Marina's Miles.
To understand why a running event was a great fit, you have to know a little about Marina and Oyster River Cross Country. You can spot the girls' XC team right away by their bright pink shorts and their frequent lead runner in the state meets. Through countless training runs and pre- race spaghetti dinners together, the runners become a very close family.
While there have been many great individual performances, the main focus has always
been team success. Marina lived by those principles. She was the 2010 DII New Hampshire State Cross Country Champion, but reveled more that the team qualified for the Meet of Champions that year. Her selfless compassion for others extended beyond the trails and found its way from welcoming the new kid at school to volunteering at an impoverished school in South America. Community service, faith, and family were her bedrock.
Making Marina's Miles a reality was a challenge. The goal was to raise money and establish an annual scholarship for a college-bound Oyster River student that demonstrated Marina's spirit and values. Rob Drugan had worked on Todd's Trot, and since the race was ending, he approached Mike and Maura with the idea of a race in Marina's memory. Together they transformed Todd's Trot into Marina's Miles.
Over 400 runners turned out for the first edition of the race, and Marina's favorite color orange filled the roads around the high school. Thanks to the community's generosity, senior Thomas Jeffery became the 2017 scholarship recipient.
This year's race will be held April 14th at Oyster River High School, and all ability levels from walkers to runners are welcome. Registration is now open. Grab a friend or two and come out to help support a great community fundraiser!
Registration and Race information can be found at Marinasmiles.org.