5k raises funds for ‘Heroes’

The Gannon University Sport and Exercise Science Club hosted the Pump-Kin 5k Sunday at the Carneval Athletic Pavilion to raise money for the Hero Program.

The Hero Program is a nonprofit organization that helps families with children with terminal diseases pay bills.

According to sports and exercise science professor Suzanne Kitts, PhD., the run continues to expand its reach every year.

“Last year we raised $200, and we hope to top that,” Kitts, who was in charge of the run, said. “It gets bigger each year. We just hope to top the donation to the Hero Program each year.”

The Pump-Kin 5k is not the Sport and Exercise Science Club’s only fundraiser, according to Kitts.

“We are hoping to have an event where all proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project, and it will be a 12-hour fitness challenge,” she said.

Many runners decided to run for a number of reasons. Zak Westfall, a sophomore environmental engineering major, has come in first place two consecutive years.

“I’ve been running since I was little,” he said. “My whole family is a family of runners. I did this race last year. It is a really unique experience and a really unique run.”

The Pump-kin 5K is unique because before the race, many of the runners pump a percentage of their body weights which takes away from the runners’ normal 5k time. Runners have the option to just run or pump and run.

Sophomore undeclared major and wrestler Garret Smith finished first among the runners who lifted. He finished with a time of 18 minutes, 58 seconds, and completed 13 reps.

Last year and this year, Westfall ran but did not pump, but finished with a time of 18:30:3. The winner of the pump and runners last year was Randy Barnhardt, who came in first three years in a row. Barnhardt finished in 15th with a time of 22:34:6 pumping 45 reps.

Mitch Montgomery, 60, competed in the Pump-Kin 5k and pumped 57 laps reaching a time of 23:05:6.

The Pump-kin 5k was freshman secondary social studies education major Nick Erbland’s first 5k.

“I’ve never done one before, and I thought it would be a good start to a healthy lifestyle,” Erbland said.

The Gannon wrestling team pumped its weight and ran the 5k. Don Henry, Gannon’s wrestling coach and director of the recreation center, said that as it was the fourth week of the preseason wrestling training, he wanted to test the strength of his wrestlers in competition.

Gannon assistant wrestling coach Tom Boyd said that he likes the run for what it does to help charities in need.

“It is a great fundraiser,” he said. “We have a lot of guys in the sports and exercise science program, and it helps the hero program. It is a double win for us.”

Senior wrestling team captain and accounting major Matt Turek said the run was also a good team-building activity.

“The reason we are running is because it is the last event before the end of our preseason, and we are doing it as a team event,” he said.

“We started training about a month ago. We ran 10 miles last week and eight the week before. We did the training for the wrestling season, but it helps us in the 5k.”

Michael Fujito

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