Carolyn Riggs, '12, Prepares for First Boston Marathon, Raises Money for 'One Fund'
Carolyn Riggs may be an Indianapolis native, but she knew she had become a Bostonian in the days and weeks that followed the bombings on April 15, 2013.
“The experience changed how I view my new city – it cemented that Boston is my home,” Riggs said. “Bostonians were unified as they tried to come to terms with such a heinous act of violence during the city’s most cherished event. There was an incredible sense of community that developed, and while the tragedy itself is marked by pain and sadness, it was inspiring to see people come together to get through it.”
She’s an Indianapolis native who graduated from North Central High School. Riggs played soccer at Duke University, and returned home to attend law school at IU McKinney.
Riggs had clerked in Boston for two summers during law school, returning again to Boston after graduation to work as an Associate at Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy. Riggs now focuses her practice on corporate defense litigation in the areas of product and premises liability, areas with which she was well acquainted after taking “every tort law course Dean Klein taught,” she says. “I’ve represented clients in cases involving a broad range of claims, at every stage of the process, affording me an incredible opportunity to learn on my feet.”
Riggs followed the news of the creation of The One Fund Boston, the official charity formed to raise money to help the victims and families most affected by the marathon tragedy. The One Fund has been at the heart of the “Boston Strong” movement, and continues to lead efforts to help survivors through their recovery efforts.
In early January, Riggs happened to read that The One Fund would field a team of 50 runners to represent the survivors in the marathon on April 21, 2014. The team would be comprised of runners of every level of experience, selected from essay submissions sharing applicants’ personal stories about how they’d been impacted by the tragedy. She never hesitated; she simply applied for one of the spots.
Fun fact: Riggs has never run a marathon. In fact, she’s never even run a half-marathon. She’s been a soccer player all her life.
“I’m a runner recreationally when the weather is nice and when I feel like it,” she says with a laugh. “Who has that kind of time? I’ve always thought marathon runners are crazy!”
Then she thought better of it.
“What an opportunity to be involved in such a special movement,” Riggs said. “This isn’t about the 26.2 miles, it’s about being part of something I feel passionate about as a Bostonian and as an American.”
She got an email about a week later that she was being considered for the team, and within another week, Riggs learned she had been chosen.
Since then, Riggs has been running in the snow, in 20-degree weather, doing 12-mile stints on the treadmill, as well as working with the coaches that are being provided to the One Fund Team members.
But she’s not just on the hook for the 26.2 miles; she’s also committed to raise $10,000 for The One Fund. So while 20-mile runs are no longer daunting, it’s the fundraising she has left to do that keeps Riggs up at night.
“Fortunately, it’s easy to be persistent in my fundraising efforts knowing that it’s for a good cause,” Riggs said. “As I log more and more miles, I feel increasingly empowered to go out there and track down donations.”
As Marathon Monday, or Patriots Day as it’s known in Massachusetts, approaches, the excitement is beginning to build toward what will surely be an emotional event.
“All of us at the law school are proud of Carolyn,” said IU McKinney Dean Andy Klein. “I’m not at all surprised that she’s aligned herself with this cause in her new home city, and I’m sure she’ll meet her fundraising goal.”
Riggs is looking forward to race day.
“It’s been a privilege to have been chosen to champion a cause that so many are passionate about. I can’t begin to imagine the emotion that I’ll feel as I’m running the course on April 21, but just the thought of it is enough to get me out of bed for a cold morning run.”
To help Riggs meet her $10,000 goal, you can donate online.