March 2, 2015
Nearly 1,400 runners signed up to brave unseasonably chilly temperatures for the inaugural Gamecocks 6K Run last Saturday in Columbia. Ranging in ages from 75 down to toddlers in jog strollers, runners and walkers raced through the backdrop of great University of South Carolina facilities, starting from Gamecock Park next to Williams-Brice Stadium, through the "Roost," taking participants past Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field, Carolina Tennis Stadium, and Stone Stadium as well as other University landmarks such as the Cooper Library, the historic Horseshoe and the Darla Moore School of Business before finishing at mid-court in the Colonial Life Arena.
"We had a goal of signing up around 1,000 runners for this first year, and we ended up with a lot more than that," said Eric Nichols, South Carolina Associate Athletics Director for Marketing. "We were really pleased, especially with the cold weather the day of the race."
The purpose of the race was to promote healthy life styles and to also promote the South Carolina basketball programs. Pre-registered runners received tickets to recent South Carolina men and women's basketball games, and Gamecock women's basketball coach Dawn Staley served as the celebrity starter for the event. South Carolina Athletics partnered with Jam Active from Louisville, Kentucky, to assist with organizing the race. With plenty of positive feedback, Nichols looks forward to having the event again in the future.
"We may try a different time of year where there is more of a guarantee for warmer weather, but we'll definitely do it again," Nichols said. "We received a lot of comments on Twitter, and they were all positive. Everyone seemed ecstatic about it. Anytime we can bring people to campus and show off our awesome facilities, it's a positive."
"I believe the race can become an annual staple for Gamecock fans to take part in a unique health and wellness event while getting an up close look at campus and a number of impressive athletic venues," added Jam Active Executive Director Matt Roberts. "Like any first-time event, we know we can continue to upgrade the participant experience, and we look forward to rolling-out some new features for the race's 2016 version."
Cocky and the Cheerleaders were on hand to encourage participants. Nineteen year old Greg Lowing crossed the finish line first in the men's race in a time of 20 minutes, while 19 year old Monica York won the women's division in a time of 23:04.
@GamecocksRun Kinda froze a little at first, but turned out to be a great day. Had a blast!
-- Brian Keisler (@bdk_usc97) February 28, 2015
-- Tre Bray (@AvenuesExpert) February 28, 2015
Thanks @GamecocksRun for a GREAT event! You guys "run" a first class operation, & it was a pleasure to partner up w/ you guys!
-- GBT (@GarnetBlackTrad) February 28, 2015
-- Austin Solheim (@ajsolheim) February 28, 2015
-- Gourmet Gents (@GGentswGCtents) February 28, 2015
-- Jeff Manning (@jeffjmanning) February 28, 2015
-- Nathan Ballentine (@F3StageCoach) February 28, 2015
-- Josh Waters (@watersjosh) February 28, 2015