A pack of Greeks are expected to rush the softball fields and run over three miles through a wooded trail for a coveted prize tonight at 6. It’s the last intramural sports event of the semester, and nearly 160 individuals are expected to run in the 5-K race.
“They do it because they want to do it,” said Al Gentilini of USF’s Intramural office, “to give themselves something.”
The race is free and open to USF students, faculty and staff, whether they’re part of a student organization or running solo. Gentilini said six fraternities and sororities are expected to bring it as they vie for top honors as the organizations with the most intramural points gained from competing in IM events throughout the year.
“You have your people out there who want to win it and they’ll have a great time,” he said. “Then you have your people who want to get the points for their teams.”
A graduate assistant at the IM office, Gentilini is an experienced racer, having run 5-K’s for adventure races and triathlons. He said the IM-sponsored 5-K has been held at USF for at least 10 years and that the rules and staff upholding tonight’s event work on experience.
“My staff is very knowledgeable about every single sport we have here and they’re very well-prepared to address any emergency situation,” Gentilini said.
Although the race will include a water station, Gentilini said the race’s course switches each year. The IM office doesn’t publicize the details of the course ahead of time to disallow for unfair advantages.
Although participants are allowed to wear walkmans, they can’t take off their shirts while racing because their registered race numbers will be attached to their shirts.
Gentilini said newcomers to organized races risk injury by trying to keep up with more experienced runners at the starting line.
“Be ready for a mass of people (who will) be running around (you),” Gentilini said. “Don’t get caught up with trying to maintain a faster pace they’re used to running.”
Individuals and teams who place are awarded points, as well as student organizations for each participant they bring. First-place finishers for men and women receive T-shirts, and student organizations with the most points are given trophies.
Runners can register tonight at the upper intramural fields or down at the softball fields between 5 and 5:45, with the race starting at 6.
To those who would like to start running, whether to keep in shape or to eventually race competitively, Gentilini suggested to start with running three to five times a week. Alternating shorter, faster workouts with longer distances lets athletes build both their speed and stamina. Gentilini suggested that new runners should gradually increase their endurance.
He said the IM office might be planning an adventure race for the summer that would include trail running and even kayaking.
“We try to give a vast array of different sports to try to hit different likings of different students,” Gentilini said.
Although dodgeball took off, Gentilini said the triathlon sprints scheduled to debut last Friday were canceled when only five participants showed up.
For information on future intramural events, go to http://usfweb2.usf.edu/camprec/ . For more information on upcoming races in Tampa, check out http://www.tamparaces.com or http://www.coolrunning.com .