CWU News

Administrator's Boston Marathon Effort to Benefit CWU Student-Athletes

An estimated 35,000 runners will participate in the 2014 Boston Marathon on April 21. Among them will be Gail Farmer, Central Washington University's equal opportunity and professional development administrator. This will be Farmer's second Boston Marathon, but her first running for a cause.

She is seeking $5,000 in donations to provide two CWU student-athletes with leadership training through the Step-Up! program.

While she says donations of any amount are welcome, she is hoping for those in $26-dollar increments, as a way to acknowledge the marathon’s mileage length.  Farmer, who turned 60 last December, is aiming to establish a personal best time of less than four hours. She says she would like those who donate to also consider doubling their amounts if she sets the mark. To make a contribution, visit

“This is about providing student-athletes with some leadership skills so that they can talk about [high-risk] issues with their peers,” Farmer says. “It’s important to provide our student-athletes with leadership-development opportunities. I believe the impact this could have on the overall student population could be quite remarkable.”

Step UP! is a social behavior and bystander intervention program that educates students to be proactive in helping others and to make them aware of reasons why bystanders may not help in high-risk situation. The goal is to develop confidence and motivate student-athletes to become more likely to ensure their safety and well-being and that of others.

To qualify for the Boston Marathon, Farmer had to run a sanctioned marathon in 4 hours and 25 minutes or less, which she did last year at the BMO Vancouver (British Columbia) Marathon. Her personal best time is 4 hours and 2 minutes.

“My hope is that this will resonate with athletes of my generation and other generations too,” says Farmer, who was a starting guard on the Carleton University, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, women’s basketball team (1972-1976). “I was a student-athlete. Being an athlete and captain of the basketball team provided me with incredibly meaningful learning opportunities. Having that focus helped me stay on a good path and has contributed to my personal and professional success.” 

Since Farmer first started running seriously 20 years ago, this will be her 14th marathon—and 12th since 2008.

“I’d like to keep running for as long as I can,” she acknowledges. “I think doing another marathon when I’m 65 would be great.”

Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,