Running for Blue

Tandra Smith

Among all of the homecoming festivities that happened last week, the True Blue 5K/10K annual homecoming race stood apart the rest. Open to everybody from the youngest of children to the young at heart, over 500 participants from all different backgrounds came out at the crack of dawn to kick homecoming off right.

“This is the perfect event for anyone who wants to get a great workout in before a day of celebrating GSU and cheering our football team to victory.” said Emmy Richards, a Fitness Program Director for Campus Recreation and Intramurals. 

A race doesn’t begin overnight, however. Planning for next year’s race begins right after the current year’s race is over.

“There are a lot of moving parts – you have to pick a date, decide on a race course, find volunteers, create advertising materials…and so on,” Emmy Richards said. “We work as a team to make sure every detail is taken care of and our participants have the best experience.”

And many do. But sometimes, participating can have a mixed reaction. 

“I felt kind of bad winning last year’s race, since I’m an actual competitive runner and most people are out there just to have fun,” Brett Gammon, a sophomore electrical engineering major, said. 

Gammon was the overall winner for the men’s race in 2014 and won that title again for this year’s race. Despite that, his favorite part of the race was the fact that everyone makes the effort to get up early on homecoming day and all participate in the same activity while supporting the university. 

Dr. Clare Walsh, a professor in the sociology department, was one of the people to do just that. She has started to get back into running 5K’s and was excited to find out that the race she was racing in was actually a part of the homecoming festivities. 

“It’s kind of cool running through the stadium and coming around the sides. The course layout is really nice,” Dr. Walsh said. 

Walsh also said that getting up was definitely one of the hardest parts of preparing for a race.

“Usually when you get started, everything’s okay, but just getting out and going is the hardest part.” 

When asked if she will win next year, Walsh said she would shoot for it, at least somewhere on the podium. 

This race was advertised in various places, from the RAC to flyers around campus. That’s how Baylee Mammenga, a graduate student pursuing a Masters of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, found out about this year’s event. She participated in the 5K race in 2012 and participated in the 10K this year. 

“I chose to participate in this race to show my True Blue spirit. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get a good workout in before homecoming festivities.” Mammenga said. 

The True Blue 5K/10K race is held the morning before every homecoming game. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned runner or not, the True Blue race is all about showing love for Georgia Southern.