Barbara Finlinson, Staff Writer, @bubblestweats
The seventh annual indoor 5k race held at UVU last weekend was more than just a race. The entire event, hosted by the UVU Volunteer & Service-Learning Center and Habitat for Humanity of Utah County, benefitted the UVU Habitat for Humanity House that is currently under construction in Springville for the Woods family.
Construction on the home, which is still in the first stages, began in the fall. According to its website, Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, housing ministry that is seeking to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world. They invite people “of all backgrounds, races, and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.” Habitat has helped to build over 350,000 houses around the world. The Wood’s home will be the 54th Habitat for Humanity home built in Utah County.
On Saturday morning, UVU’s hallways were filled to brimming as almost 200 walkers, joggers and runners participated in this unique opportunity to support a good cause. Racers from all walks of life attended. There were young and old athletes, including babies in strollers. People came from all over the valley and turned out in record numbers.
“We got more participants than we have ever had before,” said program coordinator Laura Christopherson. “Habitat for Humanity was really excited about the large turnout.”
Over 30 volunteers were on hand before and after the race to help out in any way they could. The group, led by student coordinator Karli Rasmussen, helped with publicity, set up the race route, kept racers on track, set up and took down the breakfast and folded T-shirts.
The event took place on Saturday, January 25 at 9 a.m. and began at Centre Stage in the Sorensen Student Center. Not only was the race inside UVU’s beautiful campus, each racer could also choose a course with or without stairs. UVU student Mike Bentley opted for stairs. “The stairs were really hard. I was so tired once I made it to the top.”
Runners were excited to be inside and out of the cold. Some were just excited for a chance to run the halls at UVU. “I’ve always wanted to run in the halls without looking crazy,” said Tammy Christensen, a UVU French professor.
It was also a great way for people in the community to tour UVU campus. Unfortunately the tour was a quick one. The winner crossed the finish line at an amazing time of 15 minutes and five seconds.
“Most people don’t realize that UVU campus has a unique design in that nearly all of the buildings are interconnected with hallways,” Summer Valente, director of the Volunteer & Service-Learning Center at Utah Valley University, said. “You can visit almost any building on the campus without ever going outside.”
Others used the race as a means to another end. “We have been training and working up for the bigger races. We love the idea that the race is indoors,” said Sam Porter. He and his wife Carol attend BYU.
Some people were there for the free stuff. “I run other races, but I like 5k’s because they are cheaper and you get a free T-shirt,” said Annie Ploeger. A free pancake breakfast was served after the race. Jamba Juice donated oatmeal and prizes from UVU’s Health and Wellness Center and tickets from the Hale Center Theater were raffled off.
Whether people came for the exercise, the tour, the free stuff or to support the Habitat for Humanity cause, it was clear to event organizers that the indoor 5k was a huge success and a tradition that UVU students and Utah residents will hopefully look forward to in the future.