Almost a thousand participants gathered at the K-State Alumni Center on the chilly Sunday morning to participate in a 5,000 meters race. The Homecoming 5K Race, sponsored by the K-State Alumni Association, kicked off homecoming week and raised money for the Manhattan Veteran’s Center. A different cause is chosen each year by homecoming week’s organizer, the Student Homecoming committee, and donates all proceeds to the organization.
“Every year we try to keep it local and K-State related,” said Kirstin McGuffin, junior in communication science and disorders, and homecoming committee member. “I’ve seen some army people here so far today, which is great.
The Manhattan Vet Center provides career and individual counseling to veterans and their families, as well as medical referrals. They also offer bereavement counseling and post-traumatic stress disorder therapy and support. The services are available to military members who have served.
As participants prepared for the 5K course that weaved its way around campus, some stretched or ran warm-up laps around Memorial Stadium, while others tried to stay warm in the 39 degree air. A group of students in full army fatigues stood grouped on the turf in Memorial Stadium, holding a large black flag.
“We’re running for [Prisoners of War] and [Missing in Action]. We’ll be carrying a flag the entire time,” Carl Minnix, junior in history, said. “It’s awesome that this university supports the military as much as they do.”
Minnix, along with several other fellow army students, finished the 5K running in formation and carrying the flag.
“It is definitely more of a challenge,” Minnix said. “It’s a lot more weight.”
Other students took part in the race with specific time goals. Luke Kicklighter, freshman in microbiology, said he set the goal to run the race in under 20 minutes. He said he was excited about getting to support the center and enjoyed the “ideal race conditions.”
“Any time you get to run a 5K, it’s awesome, but it’s even better if money goes to a good cause,” Kicklighter said. “It’s perfect weather, a great race. There’s no better way to start a day.”
Both female and male first place non-student finishers are K-State alumnus. Kory Cool, the male first placer, ran cross county for a year of his time at K-State during the 2006-07 season.
Coming in first place in the student division were Daniel Worthington, sophomore in industrial engineering, and Lyndi Stucky, senior in mass communications. Stucky ran in the 2013 Boston Marathon as well, with a time of 3:38:14. Times have not yet been posted for the contestants.