On Saturday morning, Sept. 22, runners of the first-ever Pride of the Valley 5K/10K Scholarship Run activated their timers as they waited on the blue mat. The pistol fired and they took off from the starting line as students, friends and families cheered them on.
An estimated 170 runners departed from the Lakeridge Junior High School parking lot and ran a loop back to the adjoining parking lot.
“I’m excited and nervous,” said Stephanie Velasco, a public relations junior, as she waited for the 5K to start. “This is my first race in a long time. I always run the Utah Valley Half Marathon, but this is my first 5K locally. So far, I think it’s been pretty organized.”
The run, hosted by The Center for the Advancement of Leadership (CAL), was held to raise funds for scholarships provided by the CAL program. Overall, the 5K and 10K events raised $23,000, which will go to scholarships for next year.
“This is the first time we have had an event”, said Dixie Maughan of CAL administrative support. According to Maughan, where CAL had previously gone to potential sponsors to gather funds for scholarships, the group intends to include the scholarship run as an annual event.
Currently, CAL awards 72 students with a scholarship that covers two-thirds of their housing. Twenty-four team leaders receive a $500 scholarship per semester. In addition, CAL awards three student scholarships in the presidency. The president receives full tuition and and each vice president receives a half tuition scholarship.
According to Maughan, CAL scholarships are very competitive, and said that out of all that apply for the housing scholarship, only 10 percent are accepted.
Craig Rawlings, mentor of the CAL program, recalls looking for a way to further involve students when the idea for a scholarship run came up in a board meeting. The event, which Rawlings said “took intense commitment and planning since last fall,” was completely organized by students.
“I think there’s a direct correlation between distance running and leadership,” said Shad Gale, student team leader and event organizer. “When you’re running a long race it requires working towards an end goal. Endurance is also involved in being a leader, and requires exploring your potential.”
Gale said that the eight month long planning process helped students develop leadership qualities overall.
Planning and organization from students like Gale and Emily Mayer, highlighted by Rawlings, allowed him to feel he achieved his overall goal “in keeping with President Holland’s statements about engaging with the community” as well as “providing networking opportunities in order to create a successful event.”
Robert Finicum took first place in the 5K with a time of 18:45. Finicum said his time was “slower than normal.” The uphill finish line was due to that fact that the route had to be altered because of construction.
However, Finicum said he was impressed that the group used running chips in a first year event.
Next year, Rawlings hopes the Pride of the Valley Scholarship Run will bring in participant numbers well into the 300 range.