On March 14, 101 registered runners, along with Concordia’s Kernel Cobb and a few canine friends, waited for the beginning of the first annual Pi Day Fun Run hosted by the Concordia Entertainment Commission.
The 3.14 mile race was part of CEC’s group fitness initiative, a program designed to help students exercise through group-based fitness programs. CEC established the initiative after a student health survey, conducted by the Office of Assessment, showed that from 2008 to 2010 there was a decrease in student physical activity levels.
Senior Ashley Gilles, health, wellness and diversity commissioner within CEC, gave the reasoning for CEC’s specific focus on group fitness.
“We were looking for creative new ways to get people to exercise,” Gilles said.
The initiative has brought other group fitness activities to campus including kickboxing, Zumba, body flow and meditation.
“People can go work out on their own if they want to,” Gilles said, “but group fitness provides a more fun atmosphere.”
The original idea behind the Pi Day run was to sponsor a five-kilometer race; however, the event gradually shifted focus and became the event that was held on Wednesday to honor Pi Day. The overall length of the race was 3.14 miles, which was approximately equal to running a five-kilometer race.
The course began at Park Region Hall and then cut through the center of campus and went out into Moorhead. The route followed residential streets around the city, went down near the river and then returned to Concordia. The finish line was located in front of the campus center.
In honor of Pi Day, CEC sponsored a post-event snack made by Concordia Catering. There was water, punch and a variety of mini pies for participants to enjoy.
In addition to the festivities put on by CEC, the math department also sponsored a celebration of Pi Day. Actual pie was available in the department throughout the day and students could add to the department’s paper chain of the digits of pi.
The event attracted a wide variety of participants including students, staff and some faculty. Kernel Cobb was also there to support the racers, though he himself did not participate.
A pair of students, sophomores Beth Balstad and Jeff Osvold, stated that they were invited to the fun run by a friend and then decided to participate in order to continue their new-found interest in running.
“I only just started running last week,” Osvold said.
The event also brought in more long-time runners like junior Sadie Fliegel, who is training to participate in the Disney Marathon hosted at Disney World in Florida.
“I decided it’d be a good training exercise,” Fliegel said.
Fliegel runs about three miles most days of the week in order to train for her event.
The event also brought some unexpected guests like Nathalie Rinehardt, who works in the Parke Student Leadership Center, and her dog Tikka. Several other staff members also brought their dogs along to participate in the fun run.
“I thought it was a nice way to get some exercise in the middle of the work day,” Rinehardt said.
The final group of participants included some faculty members. The math department was represented by office manager Karla Hornstein and professor Xueqi Zeng.
“We are the oldest people finishing the race,” commented Zeng as she and Hornstein finished the event.
The two were present to represent the math department but Hornstein gave another reason for their presence at the event.
“The students talked us into it,” Hornstein said.