Runners illuminated Marquette’s Central Mall last week with glow sticks, neon colored shirts and loud music. Late Night Marquette, the Fitness Assessment Center, Muscle Milk, and WMUR teamed up to create a 5,000-meter race around campus with a disco club feel.
Last year, the Fitness Assessment Center held a pre-game 5,000-meter race prior to Marquette’s basketball game against Georgetown. Only 80 participants showed up to run on a morning with snow still on the ground.
With no snow in the forecast, more than 300 people signed up to participate in the Glow Run 5K. Among them were competitive runners from the Marquette Running Club and amateur walkers out to have fun.
Freshman Alex Miller is only a few months removed from the end of his competitive running career at James B. Conant High School, where he was an Illinois state qualifier in cross-country and competed at the Nike Cross-Country Regionals. He was the first of three members of the Marquette running team that crossed the finish line and won with a time of 17:26.
Although the opportunity was presented for him to run at Loyola University Chicago, he decided to come to Marquette for its nursing and honors programs. He wanted his focus to be on his studies, so he decided against running Division I in college, but he still runs about 80 miles per week as a member of the club team and while individually training with a partner.
He has not dismissed the thought of trying to walk on to the varsity team, but he is content with how things are going now.
“After freshman year, we’ll see what happens with balancing school and where I stand with all that,” Miller said. “Right now I’m happy running for the club, but if something happens I wouldn’t be completely against it.”
Miller took out the race with a pack of faster runners. Among them were members of the club team that ran the Lakefront Marathon this year, one of which earned a Boston Marathon qualifier. It was a three-man race up until the final turn where a kick by Miller earned him the victory.
Amateur runners like sophomore Michael Lenoch enjoyed the race as a fun run. He ran eight miles earlier in the day but still managed to hit a 5,000-meter personal best.
“Having that atmosphere of having a lot of people was a lot of fun,” Lenoch said. “By the time I got to my second lap and I started to pass some walkers, it was was a good morale booster.”
After the race, runners were invited to drink free Muscle Milk provided by the race sponsor. Massages were also provided by members of the Fitness Assessment Center and physical therapy majors.
There are no other races planned by Marquette’s student government yet for the winter. Tyler Gregory, a junior exercise physiology major and Fitness Assessment Center intern, plans to work off the success of the Glow Run for future races.
“I was really happy by the number of participants we had,” Gregory said. “We have a meeting coming up. We’ll discuss whether there will be another one in the spring or if it will just be annual. Things will be figured out soon.”