5K run unites students, families and staff for good cause
On Sept. 21, the University of Mary Washington hosted its ninth annual 5K run. Organized by Mark Blackwell, an economics graduate of UMW in 1988, the event was sponsored by the basketball program’s Coach Wood.
The event was held, in part, to draw attention to the university’s highly successful basketball program, as well as to raise money for the “Nothing but Nets” cause, which uses donations to purchase mosquito nets for African countries suffering from the malaria epidemic.
The race also accepted shoes and running equipment, used or new, to send to those unable to afford proper footwear. Donations are optional, but many students assisted with relief aid, such as in 2012 when over one hundred pairs of shoes were collected.
According to Blackwell, the event typically hosts between one and two hundred participants comprised of students and their families, professors and local running enthusiasts. Almost one hundred and fifty runners turned out for the 2013 5K, thanks to the school and social media advertisements.
This year, the runners included many family members who visited the university for Family Weekend. Families were able to participate in the run for $15.
Dave Moeslein, a senior business major, attended the run for his second time with both his mother and brother. According to Moeslein, he enjoyed the race due to the relaxed nature of the crowd, as most runners present simply wanted to spend time with family while raising money for a good cause, rather than view the event as a fiercely competitive race.
“We’re looking for maybe a ten-minute-mile pace,” Moeslein said. “I’m guessing we’ll do a little walking in between jogging.”
However, there were a few runners who saw the 5K as an opportunity to train for future races, such as previous winner Zach Whalen, professor of English.
Whalen attended this event several times before, including 2010, when he secured a first place victory over one hundred other professors and students.
“[The marathon] is a good way to get back into running form, and I feel confident about this race,” Whalen said.
The UMW 5K Run has become a tradition at the university, strongly supported by the administration and associated as a part of Family Weekend.