Austin Kelly, The Black Bear – As runners and walkers stretched and warmed up their bodies in front of the starting line on a brisk Saturday morning, Father Thomas McGann said a prayer and announced the rules of the race. The buzzer sounded and the runners went off, racing to cross the finish line first.
Saturday, Jan. 28, marked the 28th annual Jack Frost 5K Run/2.5K Walk hosted by the Catholic Campus Ministry. The race was a fundraiser to help the CCM, and was open to the community, even dogs could run the race.
Families crowded the finish line, waiting for their runners to cross so they could take pictures and celebrate. One family came from Belleville, Illinois to watch their sons, Tyler and Wyatt Rainbolt, run the race.
Their mother, Sandra Rainbolt, said the race was, “very neat and I enjoy it a lot.”
Joseph Russo was the first to cross the finish line, with a time of 17:29. Joseph attends Drury University and is an avid runner. He has attended the race for many years but this was his first time winning the Jack Frost race.
“I’m just excited about my win,” Russo said.
The race is open to younger children as well. Best friends and neighbors, Carleigh Russell and Alexandria Barnhart, were first time runners this year. They took second and third place in the younger age group. They said their mothers got them into running and they have fun with it.
The race was started by Brendan Griesemer and Matt Wegenka, who worked the finance team for CCM. The race was first called the Turkey Trot and was hosted around Thanksgiving break. Due to low turnouts, the race was changed to the Jack Frost and held in January, when more participants could come.
Greek life, such as Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, volunteered to help after the race with snacks, a bake sale and handing out medals. Bev Franklin, or “Mama Bev” as the volunteers and members of CCM call her, organized the race this year, as well as many years before.
She has been with the church for thirty-eight years. She always encourages students to come.
“We welcome all students to check out CCM,” Franklin said.