Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 23:11
Standing behind a registration table, graduate assistant Emily Ottenhoff casually accepted a five dollar bill from a man who could only be recognized as Spiderman. As he withdrew his hand, he leaned forward and asked a question; Ottenhoff, unable to understand, requested the man remove his mask so she could hear him.
In the world of comic books, super heroes never reveal their true identity. But this man wasn’t Peter Parker—he was one of many Indiana State University students who dressed up and participated in the PE 101 Fun Run on Tuesday, the day before Halloween.
The event, which cost five dollars per person, is planned every semester by the physical education department to promote physical fitness and support local charities, with all proceeds going to Ryves Hall and Habitat for Humanity. Local businesses donated awards for the best-dressed participant along with the top male and female runners. A raffle was held for gift certificates to several local restaurants, as well.
One of several graduate assistants involved in organizing the 5K run, Ottenhoff said this semester’s Halloween theme was a first for the department. All ISU students were encouraged to participate and dress up, while most PE 101 students in attendance received extra credit.
“We picked Oct. 30 and thought, ‘Why not ask [students] to dress up to make it a little more festive?’” she said.
Registration took place in the Arena’s north gym at 3 p.m., and was followed by the best-dressed contest, which was judged by audience applause.. Freshman Adam Williams won a $10 gift certificate to Roly Poly with his unique ostrich-jockey costume and the help of loud cheers from a group of friends.
“It’s kind of awkward standing up there because only like four guys were cheering for me and making enough noise, but it feels good to win,” he said. “It makes me feel really to good to maybe get a good laugh out of some people and just have fun. It’s a part of college, you just got to have fun.”
As costumed runners gathered at the starting line, just outside the north gym doors on the Fourth Street bike lane, some shivered amid the cold and windy weather. Due to Hurricane Sandy’s presence along the East coast Tuesday morning, low temperatures and wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour swept over Terre Haute for most of the day, WTHI reported.
But this didn’t stop the crowd of participants from completing the 5K run. PE instructor Nancy Cummins has helped to organize the event since it began in 1999 and said she was surprised by the estimated turnout of around 300 people, which translates to around $1,500 raised for charity. No exact numbers, however, were immediately available.
“The numbers go up and down depending on the weather,” she said. “If there’s 300 [students] and it’s this cold and windy, that’s great.”
Participants headed south on Fourth Street until turning east on Cherry Street, proceeding in a loop around campus and concluding back outside the north gym doors. At the finish line, two graduate assistants with stop watches and a large digital clock with bright red numbers awaited the oncoming runners.
In a bright yellow Teletubby costume, sophomore physical education major and track and field athlete Gabe Ocasio was the first of many to cross the finish the line, receiving a $10 gift card to Beef O’ Brady’s for his efforts.
“I got this costume from a friend and I thought I should rock it today in this race. It’s kept me warm from the cold weather,” he said. “It’s a great cause, a lot of people came out and gave up $5 to come and have some fun.”
One by one, every super hero, samurai and werewolf rounded the last corner, crossed the finish line and treated themselves to refreshments back in the north gym, no trick included.
“It’s great because the kids get a lot out of it,” Cummins said. “ Sometimes when people hear ‘5K’ they’re very intimidated. But then they realize they can do that.”