Aaron Hostetler Sports Editor
While many communities around the globe are struggling to find ways for people to connect virtually during this pandemic, one nearby university seems to have succeeded. According to WFSB, Quinnipiac University has found a way for many of its students to connect through an online virtual 5K. Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT, famously holds its annual 5k every year in April, as a way to bring students and participants of many ages together with an enjoyable outdoor event for the community.
Unfortunately, the widespread coronavirus pandemic has caused plans to change, as many schools, businesses, and local events have been forced to cancel, or be put on hold until the situation improves. However, this unfortunate turn of events hasn’t stopped the university from finding another way to please its students.
The virtual 5K consisted of students, staff, faculty, and alumni, who all walked or ran the 3.1-mile race at their desired location, and at their own paces. Each of them was able to use smartphone apps, and devices such as Apple watches and FitBits to record their times. Participants then shared their times online, as well as pictures, and videos of themselves before, during and after their run. Overall results of this event were posted on Monday, April 20. Everybody agreed that this was a neat and creative way to bring the community together.
The event was organized by Quinnipiac’s fitness center, who’s staff wanted to find a way to continue the annual event. One of the staff members who was very influential in its organization was Emily Mullen, a physical therapy student studying to get her doctorate degree. Mullen was planning to graduate this spring, but as Quinnipiac has postponed their graduation as a result of the ongoing pandemic, Mullen wanted to make the most out of the current situation by continuing an event to lift up everybody’s spirits during these hard times. “We thought as a recreation center at Quinnipiac that we could get everyone together virtually,” said Mullen to Eyewitness News 3. “And even though we can’t physically be there together on campus, we’re all still able to be in this together. I think having that source of community to still hold on to in this time of uncertainty is definitely really important.”
The 5K had approximately 300 participants, and many people have been happy to use this as a motivating opportunity to get out of their houses and enjoy the great outdoors. Keeping a physical routine and connecting with others is important for mental health and is something that is difficult for many, as we all try to maintain social distancing. The success of this virtual event is an excellent example of how a community can remain connected with each other despite challenging circumstances. It has turned out to be a satisfying experience for many of Quinnipiac’s participants, which has been beneficial in motivating them to stay physically active, and has served its purpose in creating a community event to bring together everybody during this time of crisis.