The Charlie Orr Fun Run

<p><em>The above picture of eleven smiling Bread Loafers was taken in the summer of 1983 prior to the annual Goshen Gallop, an event now in its 36th year. </em><em>Front Row: Ned Bradford MA ‘88, Ben Bolte MA ‘88, Lee Montgomery MA ‘84, Kerry Griffith MA ‘83, Brett Pierce MA ‘85; </em><em>Second Row: Trevor Peard MA ‘84, <strong>Charlie Orr</strong> (making thumbs up gesture), Mark Lawhorn MA ’83 MLitt ‘93, Jim McInerny MA ‘84, John Ferguson (attended 1982-84), Peter Mull MA ‘83</em></p>

The above picture of eleven smiling Bread Loafers was taken in the summer of 1983 prior to the annual Goshen Gallop, an event now in its 36th year. Front Row: Ned Bradford MA ‘88, Ben Bolte MA ‘88, Lee Montgomery MA ‘84, Kerry Griffith MA ‘83, Brett Pierce MA ‘85; Second Row: Trevor Peard MA ‘84, Charlie Orr (making thumbs up gesture), Mark Lawhorn MA ’83 MLitt ‘93, Jim McInerny MA ‘84, John Ferguson (attended 1982-84), Peter Mull MA ‘83

The Charlie Orr Fun Run was established in 1984 in memory of Charles Orr, who attended Bread Loaf from 1982 to 1984. Charlie began each day on the mountain with a plunge into the pond, and is remembered for embracing his life with fervor. He was an avid runner and boater who wrote of his first, transformative summer at Bread Loaf that “things are different now. I can no longer go back to my old way of life—or my old way of teaching—just as I can no longer go back up the river once the boat nudges in.”

Both the Charlie Orr Memorial Scholarship and the annual Charlie Orr Fun Run were established after his death in an auto/biking accident. The continuing popularity of the race serves as a testimonial to the affection shared for Charlie. On its 20th anniversary, 140 students, staff, faculty, actors, and children joyfully participated, and a number of Charlie’s friends still run the course every year.

In 2013, Mark Lawhorn MA ’83, MLitt ’93 journeyed to the Bread Loaf campus from Hawai’i and spoke to the assembled runners about his former roommate before joining the ranks for another run. We asked him to share his reflections on Charlie and the Fun Run tradition for the newsletter; his thoughts are available here.