The fifth annual 5K and Kid K took place Saturday as part of Homecoming activities. It allowed area residents and students, faculty, staff and alumni to come together for another campus tradition.
Although it was a Homecoming event, this was the first year that the exercise and sport science department hosted the run by themselves.
The race was also the first one to be chip timed. In recent years, larger races have gone to this electronic form of measuring so that racers’ times are more accurate. A small chip is attached to the racers’ shoes that corresponds to the participants and the time they cross the finish line.
Junior elementary education major and co-president of the Endurance Club Meredith Davis liked having the chips to time the race.
“I think it’s really cool, and it makes it a more official race. I know that my time is clocked in more accurately with the chip, and it is more like the bigger marathons and half-marathons,” she said.
Davis was the first woman to cross the finish line, and Aaron Miller, junior exercise and sport science major and president of Endurance Club was the first male to finish.
The race started in front of Mayborn Campus Center and was open to anyone who wanted to participate. More than 200 people came out for the event.
One of the runners was senior exercise and sport science major Logan Chaney who ran the race because he knows that being fit is an important factor to his degree.
“I think it is crucial that we support our major, and if someone is going to be an exercise and sport science major, it is important that they are physically active. Our bodies are our billboards, and physical educators should look like one,” he said.
The event wasn’t just geared toward adults. A Kid K happened right after the regular 5K. Parents pushed or ran with their young ones, allowing people of all ages to participate.
Though many alumni participated, several of the faculty and staff on campus set goals and had been working hard for the race.
Exercise and sport science Professor Dr. Jamey Plunk organized the race, with the help of other people in the department.
“It is a great opportunity for faculty and staff to come see others who have set this as a goal for them. We have a lot of faculty on campus that have changed their health and exercise habits because they wanted to come do the 5K,” Plunk said.
With so many changing their lifestyles, even more people were prompted to take up the challenge.
“It has started a pattern, and the race is a good opportunity and a cheap way to be active,” Plunk said.
Five years ago when the event was first created, the alumni, staff and exercise and sport science department wanted to have something that would help get the school moving.
Plunk said. “We started the race so that students and faculty would have a place to participate in something like this that was local.”
The exercise and sport science department plans on continuing the run and having it on Homecoming weekend each year.
“We always have a lot of alumni that participate in the race, so it works out well to have it then,” Plunk said.
Not only is the 5K a good way to be physically active, it also allows for the building of community from people all across campus.
“For the Endurance Club, races have built a lot of closeness between us all. We all enjoy running and doing races, especially ones that are university sponsored,” Davis said. “We have so much passion and dedication that it makes our whole group come together as one.”
After starting the club a year ago, the students have seen much growth, and the longevity of it is promising.
“Our leadership has really developed this year. Last year we had about nine committed racers, and this year our number is up to 17,” she said. “We are now more of a team than just a club, and that is so great to see.”
Participants can come together for the event to improve their running times and have fun with one another.
“A lot of friends are out here, so it’s a good time for fellowship. I’ve run this race before, so I wanted to see how well my fitness has improved,” Chaney said. “I shaved three minutes off my time, so that is always rewarding.”