The annual THON FT5K took place Saturday with a record number of participants. The event had the usual THON spirit, despite the chilly temperature. The traditional Kids Race that took place around 10:45 was Halloween themed, so it featured children dressed up in various costumes, featuring Captain America, pirates, and a rocket ship.
After the Kids Race, a family speaker thanked all of the volunteers for their work throughout the year. Next up was a performance by the Lionettes featuring the littlest Lionette — their Four Diamonds child, Ashley. Ashley fit right into the famous Lionette kick line and truly added something special.
Next up the kids were given prizes for their costumes, ranging from most creative to most spirited. The competitive run kicked off shortly after with the first runner finishing in just 16 minutes and 40 seconds. The fun run started immediately after and it was easy to see that there were a record amount of participants. Costumes could be seen in this crowd as well, including several bananas, a whoopee cushion, and even a business suit. Committee members lined the 5K route to cheer on and encourage participants throughout the course that circled the campus.
“It was awesome to see all these people and how enthused they are for THON even though it is over 100 days away. It was just a great atmosphere,” Larry Ofcharsky, Storage Captain for Merch, said.
After the race concluded participants were able to grab a bite to eat and interact with the families in attendance, or get in some quality organization time. In true THON fashion when “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” blared through the speakers all of those still remaining circled up before everyone parted ways.
“The whole day was absolutely incredible! It turned out better than we could have expected,” Matt Hoffman, 5K Captain for Special Events said. “This is an SE event, but every single committee was involved. It’s cool to say that it doesn’t matter what color you’re wearing because everyone came together to pull this off.”
“The turnout for the event was great. We had a record number of registrants and families that attended the event,” said Lakshmi Kolandra, Special Events Overall.
“I think one of my favorite memories of the 5k was the huge circle that everyone created to the song ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’ I was watching from the outside and was overwhelmed with emotion! It just showed the unity within the THON and Penn State community, and it was something truly beautiful to see,” Kolandra said.
The true THON energy could be felt throughout the day promising another great year For The Kids.