Nearly 250 people ventured out in the chilly weather Saturday morning to participate in the Rattler 5k Urban Challenge.
Hosted by the Florida A&M Student Health Department, the event kicked off the homecoming week festivities. The Army and Navy ROTC units, along with Marine OSO, were co-hosts of the event held at the Hansel E. Tookes Student Recreation Center.
Tanya Tatum, director of FAMU Student Health, said the challenge is a new approach to the usual FAMU Homecoming Spirit Run/Walk.
“This is our second year, and we just wanted to revitalize the spirit run,” Tatum said. “We’ve turned the run into an obstacle race because we really just wanted to get more people out to participate.”
“I want others to know that I did the three-mile walk,” said Linda Wright, a walk participant. “It was hard but it was finished. It’s better to be safe.”
Although there were many smiles and games, the overall goal was to raise awareness about the importance of healthy living.
“We want people to change the way they think about food and fitness,” said Tatum. “Our main focus is to get people out and get them active – doing something, walking, running, playing with the hoola-hoops – you don’t have to be an athlete to be active.”
Some of the vendors included Phaze One, Sweat Therapy Fitness, Higher Ground Bicycle Company and the FAMU Women’s Health Center. A few of the activities included skateboarding, bicycle spinning, Zumba, disc golf and volleyball. Healthy brunch, including fruit, crackers, granola bars, bagels and turkey wraps were served in between activities.
Students were to submit an essay stating the benefits and advantages of riding a bicycle on campus. Dr. Yolanda Bogan, Principal Investigator for the FWHC, said she attended a women’s wellness conference and it inspired her to put together a program to help students make exercise a part of their daily routine.
“Well I noticed that there aren’t very many bicycles on campus so I thought it would be economical for students, great for the environment and an easy way to include exercise as part of your daily routine,” said Bogan. “When you see someone else exercise, it inspires you to exercise. So I hope this will encourage other students to go out and get a bicycle.”
Since U.S. Office of Health and Human Services funds the Women’s Health Center, they were able to purchase the bikes and locks for students who submitted essays. Bogan said the bicycle program is a part of a three-year study aimed at decreasing the health disparities in the minority community.
“This is great,” Dominique Key, a fourth-year biology student, said. “I’m so excited. This bike makes my little Wal-mart bike look like nothing.”