Bearcats join forces to take on Portland Marathon

by University Communications,

  • Portland Marathon
    Women’s basketball Assistant Coach Katie Gruys, swimming Head Coach Leslie Shevlin and President Steve Thorsett finished the Portland Marathon together on Oct. 8, 2017.

President Steve Thorsett, Coach Leslie Shevlin and Assistant Coach Katie Gruys were among finishers.

Last weekend’s Portland Marathon brought out over 6,400 participants, including a number of Bearcats who completed the half and full marathon courses. Among the Willamette representatives were President Steve Thorsett, swimming Head Coach Leslie Shevlin and women’s basketball Assistant Coach Katie Gruys.

As President Thorsett prepared for the race early in the morning, he also ran into alum Benjamin Mow ’15 and posed for a quick photo. Mow later finished an impressive second overall in the half marathon.

Thorsett was running his third marathon — after completing marathons in Paris in 1985 and Pittsburgh in 1991. He decided to start training for a full marathon over the summer after completing the Portland Shamrock Run 15k last March and “Race for the Roses” half marathon in April.

Shevlin and Gruys heard about Thorsett’s training and decided to join him.

“When the opportunity arose to run with President Thorsett, I wanted to do it to support him,” says Shevlin, who was running her third marathon, including one as part of the Ironman CDA event. “The president does so much for the university that I love, and it was a great opportunity to get to do something together.”

Gruys previously ran the Eugene Marathon and grew up completing triathlons in Minnesota. She’s registered for the Coeur d’Alene Half Ironman in June and is planning to participate in Ironman events on an annual basis.

“I ran the Portland Marathon because President Thorsett was running it and I have always wanted to run it,” Gruys said. “It was a great way to represent the Bearcat community and accomplish a goal together!”

Thorsett, Shevlin and Gruys ran together for the entire race. The trio crossed the finish line with a time of 04:44:03.

“I know how hard it is to run a marathon,” Shevlin says. “Running can be more bearable with positive people around you.”

“Leslie and Katie were incredible race-day coaches,” Thorsett adds. “They could have been way ahead of me — but it was a wonderful experience to finish together.”

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