Friday, April 25, 2014

5k Trail Race challenges students, community

Runners and walkers of all experience levels participate

Runners and walkers from all over the community joined together for the third annual Liberty Mountain 5k Trail Race. The 3.1-mile race was held on the Liberty Mountain trail system Saturday morning.

On your mark — Students prepare for the Liberty Mountain 5K race, beginning and ending at the Snowflex facility. Photo credit: Rebekah Lohr

The competition started and ended at the Snowflex facility, with various awards given to many of the participants.

Student Activities hosted the race and awarded the top three female and male runners in each age group with a medal.

Additionally, the top male and female runners overall, as well as the male and female masters, received customized trophies with engraved plaques.

“I first started running on these trails when I was a student. I took Dr. Horton’s running class and I have been hooked ever since,” Student Activities Associate Director Joshua Yeoman said. “When I came to work for Liberty, the trail system had just been expanded. So, we started the Liberty Mountain Trail Series in the spring of 2009. It has been a success thus far.”

The race was closed off to runners and walkers only, while all levels of experience were welcome.

“This race is challenging because the terrain is uneven. But all are welcome to come and run or walk our race. It is a great race for a first time trail runner,” Yeoman said.

The Student Activities department also holds mountain bike races for cyclists. The popularity of the races around Liberty grows every time an event is held.

“The student feedback has been really good so far. Each year we have increased our participation by approximately 25 percent to 30 percent. We are always looking to improve on our races, and we could always use help as they continue to grow,” Yeoman said. “We have about 70 percent of our runners come from Liberty (staff, faculty, and students), and 30 percent of our runners from the general public.”

Brothers Parker and Patrick Spencer, decided to run the 5k together.

“I love the racing atmosphere. Everybody’s really nice and happy,” junior Parker Spencer said. “My favorite part is seeing my friends and being able to run with them,” freshman Patrick Spencer said.

The Student Activities department has held various trail series and races since its development.

So far, the races have been open to anyone who wants to participate, and students get a discount on their entry fee.

“Student Activities seeks to provide a diverse amount of activities, and utilizing the asset we have in the trail system seemed like a no brainer,” Yeoman said.

The department is currently working to expand its outdoor recreation activities.

In order to participate in one of the races, visit www.liberty.edu/sa and click on the tab labeled “Liberty Mountain Trail Series.” Registration can be completed online, through the Student Activities office or by mail.

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