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Wellesley College’s Support for Boston Marathon

Since its inception, Wellesley College has always been an integral part of the Boston Marathon. The screams of motivation by the all female school gives runners at the halfway point a boost of energy and confidence to finish the race. After years of tradition, Wellesley’s show of support became known as the “Scream Tunnel,” since the volumes of their shouts could be on par with a Beatles concert.

Wellesley students have given their love ever since the Marathon began over 120 years ago. In 1897, large groups of girls reportedly cheered on a well-liked Harvard student during the race, according to the College’s website. In 1966, word spread around campus that the first woman ever was to run in the Marathon, Bobbi Gibb. In an article by boston.com, roars of joy were allegedly given as Gibb passed the campus. When women were officially able to register for the Marathon in 1971, that’s when the tradition became a more popular sensation.

It wasn’t until the year 2000 that the term “Scream Tunnel” became an official name for the schools thunderous spirit. In an article published by the Wellesley News, one of the runners said about the school, “In Wellesley- at the Scream Tunnel- oh yeah!”

Sign making at Munger Hall

Their howls of inspiration are accommodated by humorous signs that read, “Kiss Me I’m From Michigan,” or “Kiss Me Like Tom Brady Kisses His Son.” Just recently, this tradition of making posters for the runners became an organized event for the school. In 2011, one of the campus dormitories, Munger Hall, created a Facebook and Twitter page to take requests by  those who want to support either a family member or loved one running in the race. The dorm receives hundreds of submissions every year, and tries to make each request a possibility.

Sign making at Munger Hall

“It just means so much to the people that can’t be there for the Marathon,” said House President Molly Hoyer. “They just want runners to know that they’re supporting them in spirit and it really does have an amazing impact.”

House President Molly Hoyer holding Marathon sign

This year, unfortunately, the banners had been reduced to a colorful mush due to the intense rain showers. Students in charge of making the signs had awoken bright and early to post their artwork across the 13 mile mark. But an hour into the heavy winds, Hoyer  realized the dangers of trying to keep the posters out. “We were afraid of both signs flying off and hitting people and cars, and of them disintegrating on the roads causing slips and falls,” said Hoyer.

Aftermath of the signs one hour after being put up

The House President, however, also noted that the runners would still be cheered on and supported by the students no matter what weather conditions. Waves of Wellesley undergrads would come in and out of their dorms to keep the “Scream Tunnel” tradition going loud and proud with custom signs. This just shows that not even the rain can dampen the support given by Wellesley’s finest.

Wellesley students in the rain giving their best support

If you’re interested in submitting a sign for next year’s Marathon, check out their Facebook page and send a request.

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