By Lauren Piercey
Pulling in on a Friday night after dinner last fall, Junior exercise sport science major Cody Harvey saw cars and trucks jammed with enthusiastic students headed down Crusader Way.
With curiosity eating at him, Harvey followed the caravan and arrived at Tiger Field. More than 75 students milled in the parking lot, ready to play Running Man.
“I saw all the people and jumped out to ask what was going on. It sounded like fun, so I decided to play,” he said.
Running Man is a game that takes place on campus usually at least once a semester. It involves students running from one location to another, normally from Andersen Field House to the Meyer Christian Studies Center, without getting caught. Taggers drive around in cars attempting to catch people in their headlights.
Harvey thinks his competitiveness overwhelmed his rationality.
“I had no idea what I was really doing, so a friend and I followed another player into the woods. We got lost for a long time but eventually made it without getting caught,” Harvey said.
He believes his first experience was well worth it.
“It took me a lot longer than I expected, but I learned a lot. Like you don’t have to go back in the woods to not get caught,” he said.
Since then, he has played whenever he has gotten the chance.
“I played this past Friday before the Hardin-Simmons football game, and I decided to run the whole thing. I got back in like 20 minutes,” Harvey said.
Some may consider this game unsafe or dangerous, but exercise and sport science graduate student J.T. Fletcher thinks it’s harmless. His fi rst time playing made a lasting impression.
“I was a little traumatized … because I was in the woods, and I saw this big creaturelooking thing, but it was only Mike Ivey,” he said.
He admits he has gotten caught before and that there are certain areas players should avoid.
“Don’t go through Shannon Commons. It is too tough to make it through,” Fletcher said.
Before coming to the university, he had never heard of the game, but since then it has has made funny memories.
“You get to see how your friends react under pressure. I got to see one friend freeze like a fainting goat and another try to hide behind a little bitty tree … priceless,” he said.
Sophomore nursing major Kelsey Anderson has played several times. Her first experience was better than she expected. While you can either run or walk, she thinks it is more physically demanding to run the entire duration of the game.
“There were 75 people, and I was the fourth person to make it. The first girl,” she said.
With each game her time has improved.
“The first time it took about 45 minutes,” Anderson said. “There were a lot more cars, so I had to keep stopping to hide. This last time I played it took less than 20 minutes.”
She encourages students to participate.
“It’s a really fun game that a lot of people would enjoy, but if someone isn’t in shape and doesn’t like being active, then they most likely wouldn’t enjoy it,” she said.
She believes people don’t really know what they are getting into.
“A freshman girl was going to follow me and my partner, but when she showed up, she was wearing flip-flops and had a purse.” Anderson said. “I think some people who haven’t played underestimate the intensity of the game. It is definitely a workout.”
She thinks the game is safe as long as participants are smart about playing.
Anderson said, “There’s always the possibility of getting scraped up and a couple bloody knees, but that can happen doing a lot of things.