The Wellness Council sponsored the third annual Jack Hazen Open 5k and Pump and Run Friday, April 10, which started with the weigh-in and pump, beginning at 7 a.m.
Students could run for free, but others wishing to participate had to pay a pre-race registration fee. A portion of the proceeds went to the Refuge of Hope, a shelter in Canton that provides food and clothing individuals that find themselves in dire circumstances.
“I think any time you provide an opportunity for students to get involved with working on their fitness and at the same time [give] back to the community, it’s going to be a good thing,” said wellness director Joyce Byler.
The 5k run took place at 9:15 a.m. The course consisted of two basic loops around campus, starting and ending next to the track. Over 100 athletes participated, including the women’s soccer team and the Malone moose.
Participants in the Pump and Run began by weighing in and testing their strength in the bench press. The percentage of body weight the participant was required to lift was determined by gender and age group. In addition, 30 seconds were taken from the 5k time of the individual for every rep completed of his or her determined weight.
Champions were separated by gender and participation in either the 5k run or the Pump and Run competition itself.
North Canton resident Chip Wilson cruised into first place in the 5k run with a time of 17:04. The girl’s champion in the 5k run was Christina Oprean, with a time of 18:45.
For the Pump and Run, the men’s champion was Mike Meyer of North Canton who completed 30 reps in the bench press and finished the race with a time of 19:23. Women’s champion Randi Guarandi, also of North Canton, benched 29 reps and finished the 5k with a time of 26:57.
Prizes were presented in many forms. For the most part, anyone who showed up walked away with a handful of prizes. Items being given away included water bottles, towels, Chik-fil-a chicken sandwiches, gift certificates, batches of trail mix and Mary Kay gift bags.
Byler started the Pump and Run in 2008 with the desire to create a student-run event to promote fitness around campus. The Wellness Council, a group of students that address campus health and fitness issues developed from this.
Byler said that physical activity is vital for college students. She said that students need to play to alleviate some of the stress of college life. She said she hopes to see plans in the near future for a field house on campus for just such a purpose.
“Speaking long term, I think we need to have a place for students to play,” she said. “We need to basically have space for students to have gym time.”
Most importantly, Byler said she enjoys the community involvement in the event. She said that the fellowship between runners and the benefit to local charity are examples of ways this event strengthens a bond in the community of Canton.
“Working on your wellness is more than just fitness. It’s being around people and enjoying the outdoors. I just want this to be an event where people can do that,” Byler said.
Cross country coach and namesake of the Pump and Run, Jack Hazen, also enjoys the community aspect of any race. He believes it is important for newer runners not to get caught up in the pure competition of the event, but to simply enjoy it.
“Many adult runners couldn’t care less about how they place,” Hazen said. “They run for the social aspect.”
Hazen is also an advocate for the practical strengths of running. Running reduces stress, helps maintain or lose weight, enables physically fitness and improves cardiovascular health.
“The other thing about running is that it’s cheap. You can go out and buy a pair of shoes, but you don’t need any special equipment.” Hazen said.
Hazen also has big dreams for the expansion of facilities for physical activity on campus. He mentioned such things as a running trail around the perimeter of campus and student-led jogging clubs. He is also a proponent of a field house on campus, saying it would be “ideal.”
“We have such a rich running history, which Jack Hazen started,” Byler said. “I would like to see this event grow and celebrate the running tradition at Malone.”