Students, alumni, community members and avid race fans came out Saturday morning despite the cold temperature to participate in the annual 5K Homecoming race sponsored by the Department of Health & Exercise Science, College of Applied Human Sciences.
It was estimated that over 2,000 runners and walkers showed up to participate in the race, which was dedicated to Sheri Linnell, who founded the race in 1981 and will retire from CSU this summer.
“On Wednesday we had 1,700 pre-registered (participants),” Richard Israel, director of Human Performance Clinical Research Lab said. “We are attracting more students, and we love that.”
The event started with the Air Force ROTC Honor Guard presenting the colors and CSU alumnus Kristine Rouson playing the national anthem on the trumpet.
Participants then began running around the Oval and working their way through the campus streets, fighting through the cold temperatures and rainy weather.
“I doubled up on the layers, so I was still comfortable,” said Tiffany Martinez, a sophomore technical journalsim major. “For as cold as it was out, I warmed up pretty fast when we started running, so it didn’t really bother me like I imagined.”
Some runners used other tactics to distract from the cold weather and to stay motivated throughout the course.
Amanda Clark and Sarah Hupbard, CSU alumni, sang songs including Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” during the race for motivation.
“This was our first 5K,” Hupbard and Clark said. “We just wanted to get involved in some of the Homecoming festivities.”
The race then returned to the oval where participants were greeted by cheering crowds, a finish line and free bagels and fruit.
“The best part was running around that last stretch of the race around the Oval,” Martinez said. “I sprinted the rest of the way at that point, and it felt like a great accomplishment crossing the finish line.”
Cam the Ram worked through the crowd, entertaining children and getting them ready for the kid’s race around the oval sponsored by the Healthy Kids Clubs of the Poudre Valley Hospital system.
All participants were given a race shirt and a raffle ticket to win gift certificates and other prizes from local vendors.
The event concluded with Linnell presenting the awards to the fastest overall male and female and the winner from each age group.
All proceeds from race will benefit the Heart Disease Prevention Program of HPCRL to fund research initiatives and new facilities being built without any state funding or student fees.
“What a great send off for Sheri,” Israel said. “Her last race, one she founded. I am just really pleased.”
Staff writer Kayla Huddleston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.