Nearly 300 students participated in the Midnight Fun Run, sponsored by Introduction to Program Design students, on Nov. 18. The run began at Kennedy Library, continued through Cerro Vista and Poly Canyon and finished at Campus Market. Nha Ha – Mustang Daily

The Campus Market plaza filled with students on Thursday night for the 3rd annual Midnight Fun Run, a 5K race hosted by students in the course Introduction to Program Design (RPTA 210). It drew a crowd of roughly 300 people and raised nearly $2,500 for San Luis Obispo Special Olympics, despite the “Harry Potter” premiering the same night.

For seven weeks, recreation, parks and tourism majors in the class have been working on planning the event.

“Each of us has put in about 40 hours,” recreation, parks and tourism administration sophomore Emily Krebs said.

The RPTA 2010 class was split into four groups – registration, entertainment, promotion and sponsorship and celebrations. The groups worked together to create a night Poly students would look forward to. Krebs led the group in charge of registration.

The evening started at 10 p.m. with a performance by Nada Rasta, clad in hazmat suits, with coffee and pastries served as well.

“You ready for this fun run?” lead singer Ruben Urtiz asked.

The crowd cheered in response.

The high energy continued as handfuls of runners and volunteers checked in the 209 students pre-registered, with another 90 students registering that evening. Not even the sub-50 degree night could stop runners from coming out to show their support. Recreation, parks and tourism administration sophomore Lindsey Hartig said they were hoping for 250 participants.

“We’re really happy with the turnout,” she said.

The turnout exceeded the number of T-shirts ordered within the first hour of check-in.

“We have to do a re-order of T-shirts,” those in charge of check-in told every runner. “We’ll e-mail you when they come in.”

Students in charge of promotion sent flyers to University Housing, placed posters around campus and created Facebook pages. Recreation, parks and tourism administration sophomore Emily Baker also talked to classes and clubs to get the word out about the run.

“We did everything we could to get people to hear about it,” Baker said.

The crowd was drawn to the 5k for the cause as well as a love for running.

Graphic communication freshman Zach Maher said the posters around campus piqued his interest.

“And it can’t hurt to run for a good cause,” he said.

The run benefits San Luis Obispo’s Special Olympics.

“It’s kind of a tradition,” Krebs said. “We have really enjoyed working with them.”

At midnight, the runners took off screaming and yelling, with volunteers at every turn to help guide them. The race started at the Robert E. Kennedy Library, went up and around the Cerro Vista apartments, through Poly Canyon Village and down and around the intramural fields, finishing at Campus Market where a DJ and screaming supporters greeted runners.

A poster across the top of the agriculture building thanked participants for skipping out on the “Harry Potter” premiere to support Special Olympics.

“Last year the run was on the same night as the ‘Twilight’ premiere,” recreation, parks and tourism administration sophomore Chelsea Carpenter said. “But I think a lot of people look forward to this. And if people couldn’t get tickets, they came here instead.”

The idea of holding the run at midnight is part of the fun, recreation, parks and tourism administration sophomore Molly Crowder said.

“It’s got spunk,” she said. “It’s more appealing to college kids.”

Krebs and Baker said they wanted to make the run something special and different.

“Plus, college students are up anyway,” Baker said.

The night’s theme, “Ready, Set, Glow!” provided runners and volunteers glow in the dark T-shirts and glow sticks.

“We really went all out with the glow-in-the-dark thing,” Carpenter said. “You can’t do that during the day.”

The night wound down with a raffle and costume contest. Dancing continued long after the race finished and students were in high spirits.

Kinesiology freshman Katie Marchant said her goal was originally to finish last, but that didn’t last long.

“Once we saw how much fun everyone was having, we had to run,” she said.

Marchant finished with a time of 30:35.

The festivities wound down and students made their way back home, spirits still high. Political science freshman Sara Molenda said the Fun Run may be a new annual tradition for her.

“This was such a fun experience. I would love to do it again.”

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