Some were students, others were alumni, and many visiting parents ran or walked with their St. Olaf student. The Homecoming 5K originated as an Intramural fall fun run. In 2000, it was decided that it would become part of the Homecoming Weekend festivities. That year, approximately 75 to 100 people came out for the run walk. The race attendance has grown steadily in the past years; 125 people were registered last Saturday. Awards are traditionally given out to the top male and female finishers. This year Christine Boyd won a T-shirt for her first-place finish in the womens division, clocking a time of 19:45. About a mile and a half into the 3.1 mile race, a strong pack of five was in the lead. Justin Hayes 03 eventually pulled away from the pack to finish first in the mens division and the race overall. With a time of 18:38, he ran each mile in just over six minutes. He did not run competitively in high school and does not at St. Olaf, either. However, his training for high school soccer and cross country skiing demanded he lace up his running shoes and take to the road. This is the second year he has run the Homecoming 5K and says his favorite things about the race are "the people and the Ole spirit". Many students and parents walked or ran the race together. First-year Jason Havey and his dad, John Havey, ran every step together until the very end. John Havey and his wife, Ann, drove from their home in Columbia, MO to visit Jason this weekend. In Columbia, John runs four to five miles "every other day, depending on work. I do what I can.
" John noted that Jason, a member of the Ole Men's Cross Country team, "was pacing me, but I kept up with him. I felt good". Jason says he enjoyed running with his father. Its great having them up here to see the cross country course and my school. Im glad we got to run today, he said. The condition of the course was definitely a topic of conversation. After all the rain Northfield had received in the days before the event, much of the trail had turned into sloppy mud, as evidenced by the mud all over many participants' legs and backs. Hayes mentioned that, "there were some pretty big mud holes out there". John Havey was not at all familiar with the muddy terrain; he logs his miles on reclaimed railroad tracks covered in gravel.
Despite the mud, the atmosphere of the Homecoming 5k was lively and up-beat. Judy Stromayer, Director of Campus Recreation, reinforced that this is a very laid back fun run for people to get out, exercise and see the beautiful course in the fall. It seems to grow in numbers each year and is part of the spirit, mind and body mission of the college.