5th Annual Blue Jay 5k Race notices decline in participation

David Smith October 26, 2017 0

Photo by Michael Wong

Oct. 22 marked the 5th Annual Elizabethtown Blue Jay 5k Run, hosted by the Elizabethtown College track and field team.

A signature event of the Homecoming weekend on campus, the 5k attracts runners from the local area as well as alumni in order to support the track and field team’s expenses for the upcoming year.

“We’re always looking for more people to participate,” head track and field coach Joel Hoffsmith stated.

According to race organizers, participation has been trending downward, which has caused significant issues for the team when it comes time to create a budget and plan yearly events.

Compared to the all-time high of approximately 70 runners participating, it was estimated that only 25 participated in this year’s event.

This year’s course featured a two-lap tour of the perimeter of the campus. Beginning at Brinser Field, the runners were sent in a loop around the field and then down Cedar Street. The run then took them around the perimeter of the College and around Lake Placida, followed by an uphill sprint near the soccer fields to complete the first lap. The second lap followed a similar path, except instead of circling around the lake, the contestants were directed to run a lap around the College’s regulation track, located behind the Leffler Chapel and Performance Center, before returning to the start/finish line.

Hoffsmith used a bike to inspect the track and make final arrangements before the race actually began, and he was present for the entire event.

Situated around the track were groups of students who had the job of directing contestants around the course and providing aid if necessary.

More students were located at the start/finish line to collect tracking chips used to determine the distance and course each runner had travelled, and others were also on hand to assist with race registrations and the distribution of snacks and water after the race.

Race organizer Chuck Wells operated the timing device and starting siren for the event.

Overall, Hoffsmith estimates that over three months of advertising and preparation goes into planning for the marathon every year.

The race began promptly at 2 p.m. when the starting siren sounded after a brief reminder about the rules of the race.

With an official time of 18 minutes and 25 seconds, 20-year-old Deedee Shea was the first person to cross the line and finish the event.

Following less than a minute after and effectively tying were Etown track and field alumnus Michael Twist, ‘17, and Sam Brooke, separated by three one-thousandths of a second and with a time of 19 minutes and 17 seconds. The unofficial third place runner was Trevor Slade.

Medals, t-shirts and gift cards were presented to age group winners and various other participants at the end of the event, accompanied by the congratulations of a large number of spectators who attended the event to support those participating in the race.

For information about the Annual Blue Jay 5k or more about annual Homecoming activities, please visit www.etown.edu/homecoming.


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