The family of Lu Lingzi, the Boston University graduate student who died in the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings, has offered five spots to members of the BU community to run in their daughter’s honor, officials said.
After the Boston Athletic Association gave 15 running numbers to the Lu family, they contacted BU and said they wanted to reserve five spots for BU, said Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore. Those people will be selected by an advisory board.
“The only thing they asked is that we do our best to keep Lingzi’s name out there and that we try to raise some money through the numbers for the scholarship fund in her name,” Elmore said.
Runners will be chosen through an online process, where BU-affiliated applicants are asked to submit a written statement or video by Feb. 7 explaining why they believe they are the right choice to run in Lu’s memory, Elmore said.
“I hope that through the application process, people receive the opportunity to tell us a little bit about their thoughts,” Elmore said. “That’s one of the things that keeps her in our thoughts, that a number of people throughout the community at the university, whether they are alumni, faculty or students, will give thought to this wonderful honor and also to this student who died tragically.”
The committee who will select the runners includes Dean Elmore, members of the Lu family, a member of Student Government and representatives from the International Students and Scholars Office, among others, said BU spokesman Colin Riley.
“They [the committee] are going to be overwhelmed very quickly with moving and poignant reasons why people would like to run in her name,” Riley said. “They’re not going to be able to accommodate every request, but there definitely will be deserving people who receive them and there will be deserving people who just won’t be able to be provided with a number in the race.”
Elmore said the BU runners in Lu’s honor will be symbolic of the healing process the university community has undergone since the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing.
“For a number of students, faculty, staff and alumni, there’s going to be a level of reflection that’s important as we get closer and closer to the days of the marathon,” he said. “I hope that we get a chance for some of us to heal and take a little time to reflect. It will be a chance to participate in what will surely be a very moving experience.
Jennifer Battaglino, the Kilachand residences area director who also teaches a marathon training class at the Fitness and Recreation Center, will train the selected contestants prior to running the marathon.
“When Lingzi passed away, the number of people who came out to gather in remembrance of her was amazing,” Battaglino said. “… I knew then that I wanted to help anyone that wanted to run the Boston Marathon in her memory. When this opportunity arose I was honored to be able to do just that.
The training plan will encompass a similar curriculum to the one taught in her marathon-training program, Battaglino said.
“We don’t have very much time, but it is doable,” Battaglino said. “We will follow the same training plan I use for my marathon-training class but will modify it to each individuals goals and experience.”
SG President Dexter McCoy said he hopes that having BU representatives run in honor of one of their own will bring the BU community closer together.
“I hope this reminds us that we are all of one community, one large Terrier Nation,” McCoy, a College of Communication senior, said, “I hope that in the wake of the tragedy that occurred last year that we come together in the spirit of kindness and togetherness that is BU.”