The REC has launched a virtual 5k program to help keep members of the Southeastern community on the move, for the benefit of both their physical and mental health, while staying close to home. Two races have so far been held, with participation free for all who are interested.
“When our facility closed, we got to work adapting as many of our existing programs online as possible and looked into new options we could deliver virtually,” said Associate Director of Recreational Sports and Wellness Jean Bernard. “Since studies show that exercise and physical activity boosts your mental health, we wanted a way for everyone to be involved and active wherever they were during the stay-at-home mandate. A virtual 5k would allow and encourage participants to get outside while staying active!”
After consulting with other universities that have administered virtual races, The REC staff began remotely planning Southeastern’s first virtual 5k. Over 75 individuals from across the Southeastern Family competed in the program’s inaugural races.
“Our facility doesn’t only serve students, so we also wanted a way to stay connected with the entire Southeastern community,” said Bernard. “Since we didn’t require an entry fee, we opened it up to anyone who wanted to be involved. We had participation from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the community who had no affiliation with The REC but just wanted a way to be active!”
The top times for these first two races were Brett Olivier (alum) 17:02 and Chris Vega (sophomore) 18:36. Awards also went to Meagan Scuderi, top freshman; Chris Vega and Cameron Matthews, top sophomores; David Rau, top junior; Pawan Shrestha, top senior; Hannah Daniel and Taylor Heikes-Westmoreland, top graduate students; Curtis Meyers and John Burris, top faculty / staff; and Scott Henderson and Brett Olivier, top alumni.
“I have received a lot of positive feedback from the participants,” said Jason Templet, assistant director for Competitive Sports and Fitness Services. “A lot of them enjoy feeling connected to the Southeastern community, especially while having to stay at home. Many participants also enjoyed that the Virtual 5k was free, and not many other races are going on right now. Being a virtual race, participants loved being able to complete the race at whatever time was most convenient for them during their day on a course of their choosing.”
Following the success of the first two virtual 5Ks and positive feedback from participants, The REC staff continued this offering. One race was held July 3-5 and another one is scheduled for August 21-23, and accompanying training plans are also being prepared for people who are new to running or would like guidance.
Visit The REC’s website to learn more or register for upcoming races.