The Cal Poly community has a chance to come together and show their school pride tomorrow at the first ever Mustang Mile.
The Mustang Mile will be held at 5:30 p.m. and consist of a 5-kilometer run through the Cal Poly campus, as well as a festival afterwards.
The idea for the Mustang Mile came into fruition after Cal Poly Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) President Kiyana Tabrizi had a chance to meet the Starkey family last fall at a football game.
Scott and Julia Starkey’s son Carson, a former Cal Poly student, died from alcohol poisoning in 2008. Since then, the Starkey family has created the non-profit organization Aware Awake Alive to spread alcohol awareness among college students.
Tabrizi credited the collaborative efforts between ASI and Aware Awake Alive for putting the Mustang Mile together in celebration of Carson’s 22nd birthday, which falls on the day of the event.
“We would brainstorm on our end about what the event would look like, and then touch back in with the Starkeys,” Tabrizi said. “We really want to make this an awareness event and make this an event for the family. Carson was an athlete, and this is a great event to have to bring our campus together and remember him as part of our Cal Poly family.”
The festival following the run is a key component to uniting everyone at the end of the day, Tabrizi said.
It will allow those who did not take part in the run to still participate in the event for free, she said.
While the run costs $12 to register, the festival being held at the Cal Poly Recreation Center — which is also where the run starts and ends — is free to attend. It will feature an array of educational and food booths, an inflatable velcro wall, an obstacle course, jousting and live music by the local band Still Time until 9 p.m.
“We wanted to make this a celebration and big event with lots of components, and the festival will give people a better experience,” ASI Event Coordinator Missi Bullock said.
Participants are encouraged to dress in costumes for the run and prizes will be awarded in individual and team categories with up to four people per team.
Pre-registration ended on April 13, but race-day registration will still be an option for prospective runners based on availability.
The first 1,000 runners are guaranteed bags filled with a shirt, various free items, a race bib number and a timing chip.
But for some, the experience of the event alone is enough of a souvenir to bring back with them.
“I’m just excited for the number of people that will be running and the message that it will convey to the Cal Poly community,” business administration junior Natalie Dinges said.
Volunteers from campus groups such as student government and Week of Welcome, along with ASI student staff, are integral to making sure the day of the event runs smoothly, Tabrizi said. The cumulative efforts of these groups represents what Mustang Mile is all about.
“The event is being put on to identify and recognize the privilege it is to be at Cal Poly,” Tabrizi said. “We are a family and community who take care of one another.”