For Siena Runner, Small Steps and Big Goals

Christie MacFarlane

Sept. 26, 2013

Christie MacFarlane returns from her training runs with two bottles clamped in each hand. They're four empties she's scooped up along the road at a 7- or 8-minute-mile pace, the allure of collecting litter too much for the Siena environmental studies major to overcome.

They're 20 cents at the bottle return and four fewer littering the Loudonville neighborhoods she runs training on the Siena women's cross country team.

The harvest from her fast-paced swoop-and-scoop doesn't seem like much. But like running, those little things add up, like extra hard-run miles and a few additional minutes of pre-run stretching.

And so the most successful women's cross country athlete at Siena in at least a decade adopts a quirky cause.

"It's not the most conventional thing to do as a fundraising project," she said. "It is a little out-of-the-ordinary, slash insane, to the ordinary person. But the overlying thing is I want to help show -- besides helping the environment -- that small things add up. One bottle here and there might not make a difference to the average person, but I think that it can only help."