Photo by Jeremy Lloyd
Sitting at the edge of the track at the future site of Stoffer Family Stadium is a tree with some unusual looking foliage. Spikes and running shoes of every color hang off the branches – a tribute to George Fox University athletes long since graduated. At the end of the season, senior athletes take their worn-out shoes, tie the laces together and hurl them up into the tree. In doing so, they leave their legacy and get to keep a part of themselves on the track forever.
Charity Arn, a junior communication arts major, started running at 8 as an excuse to spend more time with her grandpa, a track coach. Fast forward 13 years and she’s now a college athlete who recently set a George Fox indoor track record for the pentathlon and was a key member of a women’s team that won the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference championship last year. The Bruins have now won three straight conference titles and are looking for their fourth.
Known around campus for her ready smile, neon polka dot longboard and an exuberant love of adventure, Charity soaks up every moment she can with her track teammates. “I don’t know where I would be without track,” she says. “These are my people. This team is like my family.”
“There is no experience like George Fox,” she continues. “Athletes can train anywhere, but as far as heart and spirit and family orientation, that’s something you can’t get someplace else. That’s what makes George Fox unique.”
When asked which shoes she’ll throw into the tree someday, she responds immediately. “My red spikes – the shoes that got me started in track in the first place. I wore them to every single track meet since my freshman year of high school. Now they are so worn, my coach forbids me to wear them. Those are going into the tree; they’ll stick around here forever.”