What is with these WIU alumni taking part in these Spartan events? If you haven’t heard of them before, according to the Spartan Race website, “Spartan Race is the world’s leading obstacle race series. It’s an event of pure primitive craziness that you’ll never forget!”
Now another alumnus, Tim Hallinan (’95, B.S.), who also happens to be the director of the WIU Annual Fund, is hopping on the crazy train and is planning to compete in a Super Spartan obstacle race later this year.
Hallinan is using the event not only as a way to maintain his fitness, but he is also tying his training and race day event to a fundraiser for WIU Scholarships. (People can donate to help Tim’s cause, WIU Scholarships, on his Super Spartan website at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/timhallinan/midwestsuperspartan.)
I asked Tim a few questions about his path of “pure primitive craziness”; his answers are below…
1. How did you come up with the idea to do a Super Spartan Race as a fundraiser?
Tim: I work with many great students who help Western raise money for the Annual Fund either as callers for the WIU Phonathon or by helping with our direct mail fundraising. Although Western remains committed to access and affordability, many of these students know at least one person who has struggled to meet the cost of his or her education. As a Western alumnus, I make my annual gift to my department to support scholarships, but wanted to do something extra this year to benefit a student that could really use some help. The Spartan Race is unique, and I thought it might be a good way to raise some much needed funds for our Scholarship Office to distribute and raise awareness for the University’s need for Annual Fund participation among current students, as well as friends, alumni, and Western parents.
2. Why do you want to put yourself through something like this when there are probably much easier ways of raising funds, i.e., bake sale, etc.?
Tim: It’s just easier for me to endure eight miles of mud and obstacles as opposed to someone else having to endure my attempt at a Snicker Doodle. Plus, I have always wanted to compete in a Spartan Race, and I made the commitment this year to do so. I’m not particularly athletic by any means, but the training regimen for something like this really helps me stay in shape, too.
3. How are you training for this event?
Tim: Lots of running and cardiovascular exercises. I don’t expect to run the entire eight miles, and lucky for me there is no time limit to finish, but I do want to finish in under 3 hours. They don’t advertise the challenges a competitor will face on the course, but I’ve seen a lot of military-style obstacles in videos from past races so I’m really working on upper body strength as well.
4. What will the funds, from this particular fundraiser, go toward?
Tim: The funds will go to our scholarship office to be distributed to students in need and deserving of some extra help this fall to ensure they graduate.
5. How do fundraisers like this and the Annual Fund help current and future WIU students?
Tim: Many students don’t realize that the tuition they pay only covers about half of what it costs Western to provide their education in a given academic year. Gifts to the Annual Fund help keep our scholarships in place and bridge the funding gap between tuition and appropriated funds from the State of Illinois. If you think about it, the Annual Fund helps all students enjoy a “free” semester every year!
6. When and where will the race/obstacle course take place?
Tim: The event will be Saturday, October 27th in Marseilles, IL.
7. Anything else important to highlight that I didn’t ask about?
Tim: Virtually every area of our Macomb and Quad Cities campuses needs and appreciates Annual Gifts. I did not want his to compete with other worthy causes, so most of my outreach has been to people without a current connection to Western. That being said, anyone who does choose to support this effort will be sent a link to a private YouTube video of me crossing the finish line in my Purple and Gold, and likely receiving quite a bit of physical punishment (as is customary at the end of a Spartan Race.) As this video will be available only to donors, I’m betting that a lot of my student employees as well as colleagues would give a small gift just to see that!
Click on Tim’s photo in this post to donate… Good luck, Tim!