Every year for the last 23 years, alumni, community members, faculty, staff and students have run in the Red Raider Road Race, the annual 5k and one mile walk that kicks off the start of Northwestern homecoming weekend.
“I think the purpose of the race is that people just kind of come together and have fun getting to see former classmates and just have an enjoyable time and get some exercise,” said Cross Country and Track Coach Scott Bahrke.
Bahrke is one of the Red Raider Road Race organizers.
According to Bahrke, connecting with other alumni is the biggest reason people join the race.
“It is always fun to meet up with old classmates and others who went to NW,” Bahrke said.
The race itself begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, just north of the Learning Commons.
“It’s pretty low key; it’s not super competitive,” Bahrke said. “There will be some people who go out there and they’ll want to win their age divisions, get some prizes and just kind of have those bragging rights, so it’s just kind of fun to see.”
The competitive race is broken down into age groups for men and women, with the winner from each age group getting a prize. There is also an overall men’s winner and women’s winner.
“Sometimes there will be some local high school kids who come, and sometimes there will be people on campus here or just people in the community who are pretty good road racers,” Bahrke said. “They sign up for this race and just go get it.”
Last year, there were around 150 runners, but Bahrke said he has seen as many as 200 runners compete.
On average, there are usually anywhere from 125-145 people competing.
“It’s a pretty flat course,” Bahrke said. “We end just east of the Learning Commons, west of Christ Chapel.All the people and their families are kind of right in that area.”
The race wraps up around 10 a.m., which is a perfect transition to Morning on the Green, where different student clubs and organizations will put on a carnival for families and children.
Participants can register for the Red Raider Road Race online ahead of time, or beginning at 8 a.m. the day of the race. The cost of the race is $15 for NW students and $25 for non-student runners.