On New Brunswick's Rutgers campus, the coming of December means the coming of three things: cold weather, final exams, and...the Big Chill 5k, sponsored by the Rutgers Recreation Department. It is one of the biggest- and most unique- road races in New Jersey, and it's happening this Saturday at 9 a.m.
There are hundreds of road races in this state, yet how does a 5k that starts and finishes along the hallowed grounds of College Ave have over 7,000 participants every year? Well, to start off, it's free---sort of. The registration fee is a $10 (or more) present, unwrapped. While one can sign up the day of the race, it is well-advised to do so beforehand. On-line registration happens right here.
Another explanation of this event's success is its philanthropic mission. While most races do support a charity using a portion of its proceeds, the Big Chill has a much more tangible approach: you provide the presents, and they donate them to children living in city housing provided by New Brunswick and Franklin.
Hats off to any event that can mobilize a college community at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Rutgers junior Mike Obsuth, an engineering student who runs for the local running club GSTC, says, "This is one of my favorite events all year. It's organized, for a good cause, and fun. I love doing it with my friends and teammates."
That said, this event isn't just for students livin' on the banks. The Big Chill is Big Fun for anyone, regardless of age or ability. So, if you are free this weekend, make a quick trip to the College Avenue Gym and register to run or walk the 5k! You can do it in person Friday afternoon or Saturday morning--just get there early. Oh, and don't forget your unwrapped present!
Feel free to comment below after the event--we'd love to hear what you thought of the race.